About this item:

213 Views | 223 Downloads

Author Notes:

LC and GP contributed equally to this work.

We thank Valerie Watson and Natalia Revzina for their assistance with the study protocol.

AHM receives grants/research support from GlaxoSmithKline, Schering Plough, Janssen Pharmaceutica, and NIMH.

CBN receives grants/research support from Abbott Laboratories, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers-Squibb, Forest Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen Pharmaceutica, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, NIMH, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Stanley Foundation/National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and Wyeth-Ayerst; acts as a consultant for Abbott Laboratories, Acadia Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers-Squibb, Corcept, Cypress Biosciences, Cyberonics, Forest Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Ono Pharma, Otsuka, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Quintiles, Sanofi, Somerset, and Wyeth-Ayerst; serves on the speakers bureau for Abbott Laboratories, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen Pharmaceutica, and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals; is a stockholder in Corcept, Cypress Biosciences, Neurocrine Biosciences, Acadia Pharmaceuticals, and Revaax; is on the Board of Directors for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education, the George West Mental Health Foundation, and Novadel Pharma; and holds patents for a method and devices for transdermal delivery of lithium (US 6,375,990 B1) and a method to estimate serotonin and norepinephrine transporter occupancy after drug treatment using patient or animal serum (provisional filing April 2001).


Research Funding:

This work was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (EB002635), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (MH067990 and MH069124), and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (DA00367).


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Neurosciences
  • Psychiatry
  • Neurosciences & Neurology
  • cytokines
  • interferon-alpha
  • depression
  • cognition
  • fMRI
  • anterior cingulate

Anterior cingulate activation and error processing during interferon-alpha treatment


Journal Title:

Biological Psychiatry


Volume 58, Number 3


, Pages 190-196

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Background: There has been increasing interest in the role of immunologic processes, notably cytokines, in the development of behavioral alterations, especially in medically ill patients. Interferon (IFN)-α is notorious for causing behavioral symptoms, including depression, fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction, and has been used to investigate the effects of cytokines on the brain. Methods: In the present study we assessed the effects of low-dose IFN-α on brain activity, using functional magnetic resonance imaging during a task of visuospatial attention in patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Results: Despite endorsing symptoms of impaired concentration and fatigue, IFN-α-treated patients (n = 10) exhibited task performance and activation of parietal and occipital brain regions similar to that seen in HCV-infected control subjects (n = 11). Interestingly, however, in contrast to control subjects, IFN-α-treated patients exhibited significant activation in the dorsal part of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which highly correlated with the number of task-related errors. No such correlation was found in control subjects. Conclusions: Consistent with the role of the ACC in conflict monitoring, ACC activation during IFN-α administration suggests that cytokines might increase processing conflict or reduce the threshold for conflict detection, thereby signaling the need to exert greater mental effort to maintain performance. Such alterations in ACC activity might in turn contribute to cytokine-induced behavioral changes.

Copyright information:

© 2005 Society of Biological Psychiatry.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Creative Commons License

Export to EndNote