Polyunsaturated fatty acids levels and initial presentation of somatic symptoms induced by interferon-alpha therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C viral infection.

Research paper by Jane Pei-Chen JP Chang, Hsueh-Chou HC Lai, Hui-Ting HT Yang, Wen-Pang WP Su, Cheng-Yuan CY Peng, Piotr P Gałecki, Anna A Walczewska, Carmine M CM Pariante, Kuan-Pin KP Su

Indexed on: 29 Dec '15Published on: 29 Dec '15Published in: Nutritional neuroscience


Objectives Somatic symptoms are common in depressive disorder and are similar to sickness behaviors due to inflammatory activation after cytokine administration. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are natural anti-inflammatory agents and may reduce inflammation-induced behavioral changes. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of PUFAs on the development of somatic symptoms and depression in patients of hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) receiving interferon-alpha therapy (IFN-α) in a prospective manner. Methods In this 24-week, prospective cohort study, 43 patients with chronic HCV ongoing IFN-α therapy were assessed with the mini-international neuropsychiatric interview for major depressive episodes and neurotoxicity rating scale (NRS) for somatic symptoms. Results One-third later developed IFN-α-induced depression (depression (DEP) group). As compared to subjects without depression, DEP group had higher NRS scores (P < 0.001), lower eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) levels (P = 0.038) at week 2. Somatic symptoms, regardless of painful/non-painful characteristics, had positive association with arachidonic acid (P < 0.05), and negative association with EPA (P < 0.05). Conclusion This study implies that early intervention with omega-3 PUFAs might be a promising strategy to prevent depression and somatic symptoms in patients receiving cytokine therapy.