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Sex Difference in IL-6 Modulation of Cognition in Patients With MDD

The difference in IL-6 may reflect a cognitive difference between males and females in major depressive disorder (MDD), and IL-6 elevation could represent a state indicator for cognitive ability particularly in female MDD patients, a new study found. The study determined the sex difference of cognitive dysfunction and pro-inflammatory biomarkers among patients with MDD in Chinese Han population. 104 patients with MDD (male n=37, female n=67) were included in the study. Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was used to assess cognition. Researchers found:

  • Male patients showed higher scores than female patients in MoCA and performed better than female patients particularly in visuospatial, naming, attention, orientation subscale.
  • CRP and IL-1β levels showed not significant difference between male and female patients in MDD.
  • Male’s IL-6 level was significantly declined compared to female.


Qu N, et al. Sex difference in IL-6 modulation of cognition among Chinese individuals with major depressive disorder. [Published online ahead of print October 16, 2019]. J Clin Neurosci. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2019.10.002.