VEGF plasma level variations in duloxetine-treated patients with major depression

J Affect Disord. 2013 Nov;151(2):590-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2013.06.055. Epub 2013 Jul 18.

Abstract

Background: The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling, which modulates angiogenesis and neurogenesis within the neurovascular unit, might play an important role in the neuro-endocrine-immune (NEI) stress-adaptation system. Recent evidence suggests that VEGF is involved in the pathophysiology of a number of diseases including major depressive disorder (MDD) and is affected by some treatments, including antidepressants. The objective of the study was to investigate the VEGF level variations in MDD patients during antidepressant treatment with duloxetine, a relatively new SNRI.

Methods: A total of 30 MDD patients and 32 healthy controls were assessed using the Hamilton Depression Scale (HAM-D) and monitored for VEGF plasma levels at baseline, week 6 and week 12 of duloxetine treatment (60 mg/day) and at baseline, respectively.

Results: According to early clinical response to duloxetine (defined at week 6 by reduction>50% of baseline HAM-D score), the MDD patients were divided into early responders (ER) and early non-responders (ENR). During duloxetine treatment, we found an opposite trend in the VEGF levels between ER and ENR: in ER the VEGF levels significantly increased in association with clinical response at W6, while in ENR the VEGF levels significantly decreased in association with an overall clinical response at W12.

Limitations: Small sample size.

Conclusions: The opposite trends in VEGF levels, increasing in ER and decreasing in ENR, might reflect differential Norepinephrine/Serotonin effects of duloxetine on differential neurobiological backgrounds of depressive syndromes. Overall, the modulation of VEGF signaling within the neurovascular unit during antidepressant treatment could hypothetically favor the remodeling of neural circuitry, contributing to adaptive adjustment of the NEI stress-adaptation system.

Keywords: Depression; Duloxetine; Neurovascular unit; VEGF.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / blood
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / physiopathology
  • Duloxetine Hydrochloride
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Thiophenes / therapeutic use*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / blood*

Substances

  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Thiophenes
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Duloxetine Hydrochloride