Submit Manuscript  

Article Details

Inflammation and Immune Regulation as Potential Drug Targets in Antidepressant Treatment

[ Vol. 14 , Issue. 7 ]


Frank M. Schmidt, Kenneth C. Kirkby and Nicole Lichtblau   Pages 674 - 687 ( 14 )


Growing evidence supports a mutual relationship between inflammation and major depression. A variety of mechanisms are outlined, indicating how inflammation may be involved in the pathogenesis, course and treatment of major depression. In particular, this review addresses 1) inflammatory cytokines as markers of depression and potential predictors of treatment response, 2) findings that cytokines interact with antidepressants and non-pharmacological antidepressive therapies, such as electroconvulsive therapy, deep brain stimulation and physical activity, 3) the influence of cytokines on the cytochrome (CYP) p450-system and drug efflux transporters, and 4) how cascades of inflammation might serve as antidepressant drug targets. A number of clinical trials have focused on agents with immunmodulatory properties in the treatment of depression, of which this review covers nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), cytokine inhibitors, ketamine, polyunsaturated fatty acids, statins and curcumin. A perspective is also provided on possible future immune targets for antidepressant therapy, such as toll-like receptor-inhibitors, glycogen synthase kinase-3 inhibitors, oleanolic acid analogs and minocycline. Concluding from the available data, markers of inflammation may become relevant factors for more personalised planning and prediction of response of antidepressant treatment strategies. Agents with anti-inflammatory properties have the potential to serve as clinically relevant antidepressants. Further studies are required to better define and identify subgroups of patients responsive to inflammatory agents as well as to define optimal time points for treatment onset and duration.


Biomarker, cytokines, curcumin, depression, infliximab, ketamine, treatment prediction.


Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Leipzig, Semmelweisstra├če 10, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany.

Graphical Abstract:

Read Full-Text article