Investigating the link between mental health and immune system

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Humanised mice as tool to investigate the link between mental health and immune system



  • Contact name

    Fulvio D'Acquisto

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Qeen Mary University of London

  • Research summary

    An imbalanced immune system has long been known to influence a variety of mood conditions including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders and depression. Indeed, patients treated with drugs that suppress the immune system or suffering from deficiency in the immune response are more likely to show changes in mood and behaviour. Although several clinical studies support these findings, the exact mechanism by which the immune system influences mood and emotional state is still not clear. Our recent studies have shown T-lymphocytes, one type of immune cells present in our blood, play a significant role in regulating the emotional response in experimental animals. We have also identified a particular subtype of T lymphocytes that could directly modify the way the brain works. The aim of this project is to expand these observations using clinical samples of people suffering from a variety of mood/emotional and immune disorders. By studying the immune response of the blood cells of these patients in our validated experimental systems, we will be able to dissect and better understand to what extent emotional changes can be attributed to changes in the immune system. The results of this study might help the design and identification of novel therapies for immune disorders.

  • REC name

    London - City & East Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    16 Jan 2014

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion