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Current Therapeutic Approaches for Targeting Inflammation in Depression and Cardiovascular Disease

[ Vol. 19 , Issue. 8 ]


Pedro Zuzarte, Angela Duong, Maria L. Figueira, Atilio Costa-Vitali and Gustavo Scola*   Pages 674 - 687 ( 14 )


Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and depression are extremely prevalent and debilitating conditions. Evidence suggest that there is a two-way relationship between depression and CVD. Inflammation is implicated in the pathophysiology of both conditions, thus representing a central candidate mediating the link between these disorders. Depression is consistently associated with increased inflammation and increased blood levels of inflammatory molecules. In recent years, studies have shown that depression significantly increases the risk of developing inflammatory-related diseases such as CVD, precipitated by the same inflammatory pathways involved in the pathophysiology of CVD.

Objective and Method: The aim of this work is to discuss the role of inflammation in depression and CVD and review the evidence of the benefits and side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs in both the diseases.

Results: Drugs with anti-inflammatory properties have shown benefit in alleviating signs and symptoms in CVD and in depression. This was shown to be particularly true for the following classes of drugs: non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) statins and cytokine inhibitors. Finally, antidepressant drugs initially used exclusively to treat depression also lead to improvement in CVD indicators, while lowering inflammation markers in patients at the same time. This evidence further strengthens the suggestion of the biological link between depression and CVD through inflammation.

Conclusion: Strategies that can mitigate this risk profile are highly needed in the clinical setting, and these particular groups of drugs have the possibility of becoming increasingly important in treatment strategies aiming to improve both the conditions.


Inflammation, depression, cardiovascular disease, NSAIDS, PUFAs, statins, antidepressants.


Heart Failure Disease Management Program, Health Sciences North, Sudbury, Ontario, University of Toronto, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Toronto, Ontario, University of Lisbon, Faculty of Medicine, Lisbon, Heart Failure Disease Management Program, Health Sciences North, Sudbury, Ontario, Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, University of Toronto, Department of Psychiatry, Toronto, Ontario

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