Stress, inflammation, and cellular vulnerability during early stages of affective disorders: Biomarker strategies and opportunities for prevention and intervention

Adam J. Walker, Yesul Kim, J. Blair Price, Rajas P. Kale, Jane A. McGillivray, Michael Berk, Susannah J Tye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


The mood disorder prodrome is conceptualized as a symptomatic, but not yet clinically diagnosable stage of an affective disorder. Although a growing area, more focused research is needed in the pediatric population to better characterize psychopathological symptoms and biological markers that can reliably identify this very early stage in the evolution of mood disorder pathology. Such information will facilitate early prevention and intervention, which has the potential to affect a person's disease course. This review focuses on the prodromal characteristics, risk factors, and neurobiological mechanisms of mood disorders. In particular, we consider the influence of early-life stress, inflammation, and allostatic load in mediating neural mechanisms of neuroprogression. These inherently modifiable factors have known neuroadaptive and neurodegenerative implications, and consequently may provide useful biomarker targets. Identification of these factors early in the course of the disease will accordingly allow for the introduction of early interventions which augment an individual's capacity for psychological resilience through maintenance of synaptic integrity and cellular resilience. A targeted and complementary approach to boosting both psychological and physiological resilience simultaneously during the prodromal stage of mood disorder pathology has the greatest promise for optimizing the neurodevelopmental potential of those individuals at risk of disabling mood disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberArticle 34
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - 2014



  • Biomarker
  • Bipolar
  • Cellular resilience
  • Depression
  • Inflammation
  • Plasticity
  • Prodrome
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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