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Brain Behav Immun. 2011 Feb;25(2):256-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2010.10.013. Epub 2010 Oct 16.

Citalopram reduces endotoxin-induced fatigue.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA. jonas.hannestad@yale.edu

Abstract

Increased levels of inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) may play a role in depression. Mild depressive-like symptoms can be induced in humans through activation of the innate immune system with endotoxin. Whether preventive treatment with antidepressants can reduce endotoxin-induced symptoms has never been tested. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over study, we administered intravenous low-dose endotoxin (0.8 ng/kg) or placebo to 11 healthy subjects who had received oral pre-treatment with citalopram (10 mg twice a day) or placebo for 5 days. The Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale, the State and Trait Anxiety Inventory, and a visual analog scale were used to measure depressive and anxiety symptoms and social anhedonia. Serum levels of TNF and IL-6 were measured with immunoassays. Compared to placebo, endotoxin administration increased serum levels of TNF and IL-6, and caused mild depressive-like symptoms, in particular lassitude and social anhedonia. While citalopram pre-treatment had no effect on the innate immune response to endotoxin, it reduced the endotoxin-induced MADRS total score by 50%, with a moderate effect size (Cohen's d=0.5). Most of the MADRS total score was due to the lassitude item, and citalopram pre-treatment specifically reduced endotoxin-induced lassitude with a large effect size (Cohen's d=0.9). These results suggest that subchronic pre-treatment with the serotonin-reuptake inhibitor citalopram blunts mood symptoms induced by acute immune system activation with endotoxin without inhibiting the peripheral immune response.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
20955776
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3025065
Free PMC Article
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