Inhibiting inflammation to target difficult-to-treat depression
Sep. 5, 2012
Researchers at Emory University have found that a medication that inhibits inflammation may offer new hope for people with difficult-to-treat depression.
"Inflammation is the body's natural response to infection or wounding, says Andrew H. Miller, MD, senior author for the study and professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine. "However, when prolonged or excessive, inflammation can damage many parts of the body, including the brain."
The study employed infliximab, one of the new biologic drugs used to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Study participants all had major depression and were moderately resistant to conventional antidepressant treatment. Each participant was assigned either to infliximab or to a non-active placebo treatment. When investigators looked at the results for the group as a whole, no significant differences were found in the improvement of depression symptoms between the drug and placebo groups. However, when the subjects with high inflammation were examined separately, they exhibited a much better response to infliximab than to placebo.
Targeting inflammation to treat depression