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Possible correlations between the psychological state and excessive innate immunity responses in ulcerative colitis


Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), including ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD), belong to the autoimmune disorders in the sense that an excessive response of the immune system(both innate and acquired) towards commensal microbial flora of the intestinal mucosa is involved in their pathogenesis. The progress of IBD is unknown, characterized by periods of exacerbation and quiescence. Depression and anxiety seem to coincide with relapse of IBD and further research is needed for the clarification of this correlation.


To further investigate the relationship between the psychological state of UCpatients and the gravity of their biopsy during relapse.

Materials and methods

29 UC patients, hospitalized in two general hospitals for the investigation of a possible relapse of their disease were examined. Methods: Four self- report inventories (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-HADS, Zung Depression Scale, State Trait Anxiety Inventory Form1 and Form 2/STAI1/STAI2) were administered to the patients and the scores were correlated with the severity of parameters of their corresponding biopsies.


Positive correlations were observed between the degree of anxiety and depression in the questionnaires and the activation of innate immunity (polymorphonuclear leucocytes and macrophages) in the biopsies of UC patients


Our findings suggest correlations between the psychological state of UC patients and the intensity of their innate immune response perpetuating inflammation.


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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ilias Vlachos.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Vlachos, I., Coccossis, M., Tsopanomichalou, M. et al. Possible correlations between the psychological state and excessive innate immunity responses in ulcerative colitis. Ann Gen Psychiatry 9, S182 (2010).

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  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Innate Immunity
  • Innate Immune Response
  • Intestinal Mucosa