Pro-inflammatory cytokine predicts reduced rejection of unfair financial offers.

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to examine one of biological correlates, pro-inflammatory cytokine, in rejection of unfair financial offers in the Ultimatum Game (UG), where the division of a sum of money is proposed and the player can accept or reject this offer.

METHODS: Nineteen participants played 20 trials of the UG as responders, and they were proposed unfair offers in a half of the trials. Baseline levels of several pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, subjective happiness, and depression of them were measured.

RESULTS: Participants with higher levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin (IL)-6 rejected fewer unfair offers. This effect of IL-6 levels on decision-making was independent from other pro-inflammatory cytokines, anti-inflammatory cytokines, subjective happiness, and depression.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggested that chronic higher levels of IL-6 might affect functions of neural regions related to decision making, and thus can modulate rejection of unfair offers.

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