Inflammatory disease

Depression, an inflammatory disease?

Evidence is accumulating that depression could be a consequence of imbalances in the body’s defense system. Thus, inflammation could cause the disease and be a factor in its continuance. Based on this possibility, it is believed that if one or several molecules that could serve as markers of depression could be found, it would be possible to predict the evolution of depression and improve response to treatments.  By studying the levels of proteins in the blood of people with depression treated in a hospital in Munich, Germany, Brazilian biologist Daniel Martins de Souza found that fibrinogen, a protein essential for blood clotting, was present at higher levels in patients who had not responded to medication  compared to those who had.  “We found a candidate marker for response to antidepressants,” says Souza, who has returned to Brazil to teach at Unicamp. “Since two thirds of patients do not respond to the first treatment attempts, it would be great to be able identify those with high levels of fibrinogen and consider alternative therapies.” In a study to be published in Translational Psychiatry, Souza and his colleagues in Germany and Brazil recall that even aspirin, by inhibiting the action of fibrinogen, could be considered a supplementary medicine for treating depression.