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Biological determinants of depression following bereavement.

Authors
  • Assareh, Amelia A
  • Sharpley, Christopher F
  • McFarlane, James R
  • Sachdev, Perminder S
Type
Published Article
Journal
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2015
Volume
49
Pages
171–181
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.12.013
PMID: 25541460
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

There is considerable variability among people in their response to bereavement. While most people adapt well to bereavement, some develop exaggerated and/or pathological responses and may meet criteria for a major depressive episode. Many studies have investigated the effect of psychosocial factors on bereavement outcome but biological factors have not received much attention, hence the focus of this paper. The biological factors studied to date in relation to bereavement outcomes include genetic polymorphisms, neuroendocrine factors, and immunologic/inflammatory markers. In addition, animal studies have shown the alterations of brain neurotransmitters as well as changes in the plasma levels of the neurotrophic growth factors under the influence of peer loss. Recent studies have also investigated the biological basis of stress resilience, and have found a few genetic polymorphisms and potential biomarkers as protective factors in the face of adversity. Longitudinal studies that include data collection prior to, and also after, bereavement and which chart both biological and psychological measures are needed to develop profiles for the prediction of response to bereavement and personalised interventions.

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