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BACKGROUND: Depression has been associated with increased inflammatory process. Although anti-depressive medication has anti-inflammatory effect in major depression, its role in patients with heart failure (HF) is unknown. In the present study we evaluated the impact of antidepressive medication on the expression of proinflammatory cytokines and acute phase response proteins, in patients with HF and major depression. METHODS: The study population consisted of 250 patients with HF (154 suffering from major depression). Patients with major depression were under selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs, n=120) or tricyclic antidepressants (TCA) and/or serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) (n=34), for at least 6 months. RESULTS: Levels of TNF-alpha, IL-6, CRP and fibrinogen were not significantly different between HF patients with depression under treatment and those without depression (p=NS for all). However, TNF-alpha and CRP levels were significantly lower in patients receiving TCA/SNRI compared to patients receiving SSRIs or those without depression (p<0.05 for all). Similarly, patients under TCA/SNRI had significantly lower heart rate compared to those treated with SSRIs or those without depression. In multivariate analysis, treatment with SNRI/TCA was an independent predictor for log(TNF-alpha) (beta=0.036(SE:0.016) and log(CRP) (beta=0.099(SE:0.048), p=0.041). CONCLUSIONS: In the present study we demonstrate for the first time that treatment of patients with HF and major depression with TCAs/SNRIs, is associated with lower levels of TNF-alpha and CRP, suggesting that the type of antidepressive treatment may have a significant effect on the underlying inflammatory process.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Cardiol

Publication Date





238 - 243


Acute-Phase Proteins, Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic, C-Reactive Protein, Cross-Sectional Studies, Depressive Disorder, Major, Female, Fibrinogen, Heart Failure, Humans, Immune System, Interleukin-6, Male, Middle Aged, Multivariate Analysis, Norepinephrine, Prospective Studies, Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha