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Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2010 Apr-Jun;23(2):417-22.

The effect of newer serotonin-noradrenalin antidepressants on cytokine production: a review of the current literature.


Cytokines may influence brain activities especially during stressful conditions, and elevated levels of IL-6 and C-reactive protein have been pointed out in subjects with Major Depression. If pro-inflammatory cytokines play a causative role in major depressive disorders, one would expect that antidepressants may down-regulate these cytokines or interfere with their actions, leading to improvement of depressive symptoms. Accumulating evidence has been published that antidepressants modulate cytokine production and this is particularly true for Tricyclics and Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), but the influence of newer antidepressants acting on both serotonin (5-HT) and norepinephrine (NE) such as venlafaxine, duloxetine and mirtazapine on cytokine levels has not been extensively studied. However, both pre-clinical and clinical studies examined in this review have demonstrated that newer serotonin-noradrenalin antidepressants can inhibit the production and/or release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and stimulate the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, suggesting that reductions in inflammation might contribute to treatment response. Moreover, the results of the present review support the notion that the serotonin-noradrenalin antidepressants venlafaxine and mirtazapine may influence cytokine secretion in patients affected by MD, restoring the equilibrium between their physiological and pathological levels and leading to recovery. To date, no studies have evaluated the effect of duloxetine, the newest serotonin-noradrenalin antidepressant, on cytokine levels and therefore this should be evaluated in future studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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