Disturbance of pro-inflammatory cytokines in post-traumatic psychopathology

Alasdair George Sutherland, James Douglas Hutchison, David Alan Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Post-traumatic psychopathology (PTP) is important to the orthopaedic surgeon as it may complicate the recovery from musculoskeletal injury. PTP is associated with a disturbance of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and may lead to impaired healing. We have investigated the relationship between PTP and pro-inflammatory markers of the metabolic response to trauma.
Materials and methods: A prospective cohort study of 82 patients with musculoskeletal injuries, correlating development of psychopathology (measured by general health questionnaire) and pro-inflammatory markers (CRP, IL-6, sIL-6r, TNF-alpha) two and six months after their injury.
Results: Psychological disturbance was found in 39% of patients at two months and 18% at six months. This disturbance was associated with significantly increased levels of IL-6 at two months and of sIL-6r and TNF-alpha at six months. CRP levels were not related to the development of PTP.
Conclusions: The relationship between PTP and disturbances of pro-inflammatory markers needs further exploration, but may explain in part the impaired functional recovery when musculoskeletal trauma is complicated by psychological disturbance. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-225
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2003


  • PTSD
  • interleukin-6
  • soluble interleukin-6 receptor
  • C-reactive protein
  • tumour necrosis factor
  • trauma
  • anxiety
  • tumor-necrosis-factor
  • general health questionnaire
  • IL-6 receptor levels
  • stress-disorder
  • plasma-cortisol
  • proinflammatory cytokines
  • schizophrenic-patients
  • serum interleukin-6
  • traffic accidents


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