Pro-inflammatory cytokines and treatment response to escitalopram in major depressive disorder

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Feb 15;32(2):445-50. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2007.09.015. Epub 2007 Sep 26.


Alterations in the immune system may have importance for the pathophysiology of depression. Several studies have linked increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines to depression and depressive symptoms. There is growing evidence that antidepressive treatment may influence the production of pro-and anti-inflammatory cytokines. In the present study we aimed to find associations between the levels of soluble interleukin-2 receptor (sIL-2R), interleukin-8 (IL-8) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and the response to antidepressant treatment in patients with major depression. Our study group consisted of 100 patients (35 males and 65 females) who were treated with escitalopram 10-20 mg/day for 12 weeks. Responders and non-responders were identified according to Montgomery-Asberg's Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) scores. The levels of cytokines were measured at baseline and at 4th and 12th week of the treatment and compared to cytokine concentrations in healthy volunteers (n=45; 19 males and 26 females). Our data indicated that a higher level of TNF-alpha might predict a non-response to treatment with escitalopram and that changes in concentrations of sIL-2R during the treatment were different in responders and non-responders.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Citalopram / therapeutic use*
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / blood*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Interleukin-1 / blood
  • Interleukin-1 / immunology
  • Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Interleukin-2 / immunology
  • Interleukin-8 / blood
  • Interleukin-8 / immunology
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-8
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Citalopram