A connection between depression and chronic low level pro-inflammatory signaling
It has been well established that visceral adipose is a major contributor to pro-inflammatory signaling that is especially prominent in overweight and obese individuals. Additionally, excessive visceral adipose is associated with metabolic syndrome and its consequences including T2D, cardiovascular disease, and NAFLD. However, the connection between the excessive pro-inflammatory signaling and depression is less obvious. This research will attempt to examine the association of the levels of inflammatory cytokines including, but not limited to TGF-ß1, IL-1ß, and IFN-?, in obese persons and the presence of various mood disorders, including depression, anxiety. The latter will be evaluated by comparing groups who take medications generally prescribed to treat such disorders and who has no current or past history of use of these medication, and no current signs of these mood disorders.
In course of this semester long project, the student will work on the literature review on connection between inflammatory cytokine overproduction and the presence of mood disorders, learn laboratory techniques for evaluation of tissue and serum levels of cytokines (ELISA assays, qRT-PCR and Bio-Plex bead assay) and will flesh out the Specific Aims for the proposal for MS Thesis.
Additionally, student will analyze existing data already uploaded in Inova BLORP center database using descriptive statistics, non-parametric statistical assays and analysis of correlations.