Over the past two decades evidence has accumulated pointing to the involvement of the immune-inflammatory system in the pathophysiology of mood and psychotic disorders (Myint, 2012, 2013). This involves aberrant microglial activation patterns as well as cytokine (i.e. mediators of the immune system) and kynurenine metabolite abnormalities.

Research into the nature of these neuroinflammatory abnormalities in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder is a core topic at CAPRI.

We aim to:

  • explore the transdiagnostic dimensional nature of neuroinflammation in mood and psychotic disorders
  • uncover the dynamic nature of changes in the kynurenine pathway and microglial activity patterns throughout the illness by exploring their association with illness state, the duration of illness and treatment

Selected publications

Immune and Neuroendocrine Trait and State Markers in Psychotic Illness: Decreased Kynurenines Marking Psychotic Exacerbations.

De Picker L, Fransen E, Coppens V, Timmers M, de Boer P, Oberacher H, Fuchs D, Verkerk R, Sabbe B, Morrens M.Front Immunol. 2020 Jan 17;10:2971

A mood state-specific interaction between kynurenine metabolism and inflammation is present in bipolar disorder.

van den Ameele S, van Nuijs AL, Lai FY, Schuermans J, Verkerk R, van Diermen L, Coppens V, Fransen E, de Boer P, Timmers M, Sabbe B, Morrens M.Bipolar Disord. 2020 Feb;22(1):59-69.

State-associated changes in longitudinal [18F]-PBR111 TSPO PET imaging of psychosis patients: Evidence for the accelerated ageing hypothesis?

De Picker L, Ottoy J, Verhaeghe J, Deleye S, Wyffels L, Fransen E, Kosten L, Sabbe B, Coppens V, Timmers M, de Boer P, Van Nueten L, Op De Beeck K, Oberacher H, Vanhoenacker F, Ceyssens S, Stroobants S, Staelens S, Morrens M.Brain Behav Immun. 2019 Mar;77:46-54.

18F-PBR111 PET Imaging in Healthy Controls and Schizophrenia: Test-Retest Reproducibility and Quantification of Neuroinflammation.

Ottoy J, De Picker L, Verhaeghe J, Deleye S, Wyffels L, Kosten L, Sabbe B, Coppens V, Timmers M, van Nueten L, Ceyssens S, Stroobants S, Morrens M, Staelens S.J Nucl Med. 2018 Aug;59(8):1267-1274.

Microglia and Brain Plasticity in Acute Psychosis and Schizophrenia Illness Course: A Meta-Review.

De Picker LJ, Morrens M, Chance SA, Boche D.Front Psychiatry. 2017 Nov 16;8:238.