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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 822-823  

Immune dysfunction and bipolar disorder

Department of Psychiatry, Dr. D Y Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Center, Dr. D Y Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission09-Jul-2021
Date of Decision11-Jul-2021
Date of Acceptance12-Jul-2021
Date of Web Publication28-Jan-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Suprakash Chaudhury
Department of Psychiatry, Dr. D.Y. Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Center, Dr. D Y PatilVidyapeeth, Pimpri, Pune, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_548_21

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How to cite this article:
Singh P, Chaudhury S. Immune dysfunction and bipolar disorder. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth 2022;15:822-3

How to cite this URL:
Singh P, Chaudhury S. Immune dysfunction and bipolar disorder. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 10];15:822-3. Available from: https://www.mjdrdypv.org/text.asp?2022/15/5/0/336823

Dear Sir,

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a serious, frequently recurrent mood disorder associated with great morbidity. Few studies have reported that neuroinflammation and peripheral immune dysregulation play a role in the pathophysiology of BD. This involves a complex interaction between immune cells of the central nervous system and periphery resulting in cellular damage through mechanisms involving excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction.[1],[2]

  Case Report Top

A 38-year-old male was brought to the psychiatric outpatient department with complaints of irritability, abusive, aggressive, and disinhibited behavior leading to him being fired from his job, inability to function normally at home, overspending, overfamiliarity, overtalkativeness, and decreased need for sleep, since last 10 days. Past history revealed two hypomanic episodes and one with depressive symptoms over the last 10 years. The patient also gave a history of substance use during the episodes. The patient's father suffered from vitiligo. On examination, white hypopigmented patches were seen all over the body (vitiligo confirmed by Dermatologist). There was also bilateral swelling in the neck, patient had tachycardia (P = 96 bpm), systolic hypertension with wide pulse pressure (blood pressure = 170/100 mmHg), gave a history of digital tremors, palpitations, weight loss despite overeating. On mental status examination, psychomotor activity was increased. He was elated, had delusion of grandeur that he is “Aghori baba” and can make it rain if he wants. The patient also had homicidal and suicidal ideas. Judgment was impaired, and insight was lacking. On laboratory testing, his serum T3, T4 were elevated, serum TSH was <0.01 mIU/ml, and anti-microsomal antibody levels were 108 IU/ml. Vitamin B12 levels were decreased (128 pg/ml); S. testosterone levels were raised (1500 mg/dl); and S. homocysteine levels were raised (65 mmol/L). MRI of the brain showed no abnormalities. On this basis, the patient was diagnosed with autoimmune thyroiditis by endocrinologist. With a diagnosis of organic bipolar affective disorder, he was started on olanzapine, divalproex sodium, neomercazole, metoprolol, and 6 electroconvulsive therapies were given, after which the patient fully recovered.

  Discussion Top

In the case presented, BD was strongly associated with immune dysfunction. The bidirectional interaction of BD with immune dysfunction is likely responsible for the high rates of inflammatory comorbidities, such as autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disturbances. This interaction is of particular importance as medical comorbidity is primarily responsible for early mortality in BD.[3] Numerous biological mechanisms of the inflammatory-mood pathway have been identified that may present novel targets in the treatment of BD. Targeting the immune system shows promise for improving BD outcomes as it may allow for disease modification through the treatment of the underlying etiology (i.e., immune dysfunction). Numerous proof-of-concept clinical trials have demonstrated a positive effect of anti-inflammatory agents in BD with good tolerability.[4] Current evidence suggests that anti-inflammatory agents, viz. N-acetylcysteine (NAC), pioglitazone, minocycline, and coenzyme Q10 may be helpful in the treatment of bipolar depression while celecoxib and NAC may have adjunctive anti-manic effects, but further research is needed.[5] Prompt detection and thorough evaluation of comorbid immunological dysfunction can affect the outcome and prognosis of BD in similar cases.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Rege S, Hodgkinson SJ. Immune dysregulation and autoimmunity in bipolar disorder: Synthesis of the evidence and its clinical application. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2013;47:1136-51.  Back to cited text no. 1
Quaranta G, Bucci N, Toni C, Perugi G. Psychotic and nonpsychotic mood disorders in autoimmune encephalitis: Diagnostic issues and research implications. Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2015;2:228-36.  Back to cited text no. 2
Leboyer M, Soreca I, Scott J, Frye M, Henry C, Tamouza R, et al. Can bipolar disorder be viewed as a multi-system inflammatory disease? J Affect Disord 2012;141:1-10.  Back to cited text no. 3
Rosenblat JD, McIntyre RS. Bipolar disorder and immune dysfunction: Epidemiological findings, proposed pathophysiology and clinical implications. Brain Sci 2017;7:144.  Back to cited text no. 4
Rosenblat JD. Targeting the immune system in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Psychopharmacology 2019;236:2909-21.  Back to cited text no. 5


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