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Toxins 2013, 5(11), 2227-2240; doi:10.3390/toxins5112227

Impact of Antidepressants on Cytokine Production of Depressed Patients in Vitro

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Leipzig, Semmelweisstr. 10, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
2
Institute of Immunology, University of Leipzig, Johannisallee 30, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
3
Department of Psychiatry, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 September 2013 / Revised: 8 November 2013 / Accepted: 12 November 2013 / Published: 19 November 2013
(This article belongs to the collection Toxicity and Therapeutic Interventions in the Immune System)
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Abstract

The interplay between immune and nervous systems plays a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of depression. In depressive episodes, patients show increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. There is limited information on the effect of antidepressant drugs on cytokines, most studies report on a limited sample of cytokines and none have reported effects on IL-22. We systematically investigated the effect of three antidepressant drugs, citalopram, escitalopram and mirtazapine, on secretion of cytokines IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-17, IL-22 and TNF-α in a whole blood assay in vitro, using murine anti-human CD3 monoclonal antibody OKT3, and 5C3 monoclonal antibody against CD40, to stimulate T and B cells respectively. Citalopram increased production of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and IL-22. Mirtazapine increased IL-1β, TNF-α and IL-22. Escitalopram decreased IL-17 levels. The influence of antidepressants on IL-2 and IL-4 levels was not significant for all three drugs. Compared to escitalopram, citalopram led to higher levels of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-17 and IL-22; and mirtazapine to higher levels of IL-1β, IL-17, IL-22 and TNF-α. Mirtazapine and citalopram increased IL-22 production. The differing profile of cytokine production may relate to differences in therapeutic effects, risk of relapse and side effects.
Keywords: cytokines; depression; antidepressants; citalopram; escitalopram; mirtazapine cytokines; depression; antidepressants; citalopram; escitalopram; mirtazapine
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Munzer, A.; Sack, U.; Mergl, R.; Schönherr, J.; Petersein, C.; Bartsch, S.; Kirkby, K.C.; Bauer, K.; Himmerich, H. Impact of Antidepressants on Cytokine Production of Depressed Patients in Vitro. Toxins 2013, 5, 2227-2240.

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