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Role of Inflammation in Depression and Treatment Implications

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Antidepressants

Part of the book series: Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology ((HEP,volume 250))

Abstract

Approximately one third of depressed patients fail to respond to currently available antidepressant therapies. Therefore, new conceptual frameworks are needed to identify pathophysiologic pathways and neurobiological targets for the development of novel treatment strategies. In this regard, recent evidence suggests that inflammation may contribute to symptoms relevant to a number of psychiatric disorders and particularly depression. Numerous studies (including meta-analyses) have found elevated peripheral and central inflammatory cytokines and acute phase proteins in depression. Chronic exposure to increased inflammation is thought to drive changes in neurotransmitters and neurocircuits that lead to depressive symptoms and that may also interfere with or circumvent the efficacy of antidepressants. Indeed, patients with high inflammation have been shown to exhibit poor response to conventional antidepressant therapies. Recent developments in our ability to understand and measure the effects of inflammation on the brain in patients have opened new doors for the testing of novel treatment strategies that target the immune system or its consequences on neurotransmitter systems. Such recent developments in the field of behavioral immunology and their translational implications for the treatment of depression are discussed herein.

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Correspondence to Jennifer C. Felger .

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Felger, J.C. (2018). Role of Inflammation in Depression and Treatment Implications. In: Macaluso, M., Preskorn, S. (eds) Antidepressants. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, vol 250. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/164_2018_166

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