Depression and inflammation: Correlation between changes in inflammatory markers with antidepressant response and long-term prognosis

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Inflammation may correlate with a specific subgroup of depression and differential antidepressant response, but no trial has studied changes of many inflammatory markers over several time points and evaluated symptom-specific antidepressant response and long-term prognosis. We performed secondary analyses among 90 outpatients with moderate-severe depression (71% female, mean age 38 years) treated for 26 weeks with escitalopram or nortriptyline. We measured 27 pro- and anti-inflammatory markers at week 0, 8, 12, and 26 and calculated composite inflammation scores. Three depression rating scales were applied and symptom dimensions of depression calculated. Via Danish nationwide registers, 10 years follow-up were included on psychiatric hospital contacts, indicating relapse. Pearson correlation analyses were performed between baseline inflammatory markers and depressive symptom severity, mixed effects models during the 26-week trial, and Cox regression analyses for the register-based outcomes, adjusted for age, sex, BMI, and smoking. Baseline inflammatory markers correlated with differential severity on specific symptom dimensions but not with overall depression severity. A total of 17 of 27 inflammatory markers decreased significantly during treatment. We found no correlation between baseline nor change in inflammatory markers nor composite inflammation scores with differential treatment response on the MADRS, but small correlations between changes in inflammatory markers and differential response on neurovegetative symptoms. Findings were similar among 59 treatment-naïve patients. Inflammatory markers were not associated with differential risks for 10-year relapse. These findings support the importance of studying specific depressive symptoms to further explore the correlation between inflammation with differential antidepressant response in a subgroup of depression. Clinical Trial Registration number: GENDEP is registered at EudraCT2004-001723-38 ( and ISRCTN03693000 (

TidsskriftEuropean neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Sider (fra-til)116-125
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2022

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