Monocyte-derived dendritic cells in bipolar disorder

Esther M. Knijff*, Cindy Ruwhof, Harm J. De Wit, Ralph W. Kupka, Ronald Vonk, Grard W. Akkerhuis, Willem A. Nolen, Hemmo A. Drexhage

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Dendritic cells (DC) are key regulators of the immune system, which is compromised in patients with bipolar disorder. We sought to study monocyte-derived DC in bipolar disorder. Methods: Monocytes purified from blood collected from DSM-IV bipolar disorder outpatients (n = 53, 12 without lithium treatment) and healthy individuals (n = 34) were differentiated into DC via standard granulocyte-macrophpage colony-stimulating factor/interleukin-4 culture (with/without 1, 5, and 10 mmol/L lithium chloride). The DC were analyzed for DC-specific and functional markers and for T-cell stimulatory potency. Results: Monocytes of bipolar patients showed a mild hampering in their differentiation into fully active DC, showing a weak residual expression of the monocyte marker CD14 and a relatively low potency to stimulate autologous T cells. Lithium treatment abolished this mild defect, and monocyte-derived DC of treated bipolar patients showed signs of activation (i.e., an up-regulated potency to stimulate autologous T cells and a higher expression of the DC-specific marker CD1a). This activated phenotype contrasted with the suppressed phenotype of monocyte-derived DC exposed to lithium in vitro (10 mmol/L) during culture. Conclusions: Dendritic cells show mild aberrancies in bipolar disorder that are fully restored to even activation after in vivo lithium treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-326
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2006

Cite this