Navigation Links
Blood test might predict how well a depressed patient responds to antidepressants
Date:12/15/2011

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Loyola University Medical Center researchers are reporting what could become the first reliable method to predict whether an antidepressant will work on a depressed patient.

The method would involve a blood test for a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). A Loyola study found that among depressed patients who had higher than normal blood levels of VEGF, more than 85 percent experienced partial or complete relief from depression after taking escitalopram (brand name Lexapro). By comparison, fewer than 10 percent of depressed patients who had low levels of VEGF responded to the drug.

"This would be the first time we would have a predictor for how well a patient would respond to an antidepressant," said Angelos Halaris, MD, PhD, first author of the study. Halaris presented results during the 2011 annual meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry and the 4th Annual Illinois Brain, Behavior and Immunity Meeting.

About 60 percent of depressed patients do not respond fully to the first prescribed medication. Consequently, doctors often must prescribe a different medication again and again before finding one that works. "It would greatly benefit our patients if we could predict ahead of time whether a given medication would be effective for a certain patient," Halaris said.

The Loyola study involved 35 patients who took escitalopram for major depressive disorder. Escitalopram belongs to a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Other common SSRIs are Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft.

Scientists aren't certain why SSRIs work in some patients but not in others. One possible mechanism is that SSRIs help restore a chemical balance in the brain. Some scientists recently have proposed a second possible mechanism, called neurogenesis -- SSRIs help to regenerate brain cells in specific parts of the brain that have atrophied in depressed patients.

The Loyola study supports the neurogenesis theory. It appears that escitalopram, the SSRI used in the Loyola study, jump-starts brain cells that have become inactive. This regeneration is fueled by VEGF. In the brain, VEGF stimulates the growth of blood vessels and works in other ways to keep brain cells healthy and active.

It appears that in patients with higher levels of VEGF, there was more regeneration, helping to reduce depression. Conversely, in patients with lower VEGF levels, there was less regeneration of brain cells and less relief from depression.

If the finding is confirmed by further studies, it could lead to a blood test that would help physicians tailor treatment. If, for example, a patient had low levels of VEGF, the physician might skip SSRIs and try alternative classes of antidepressants, such as bupropion, or alternative therapies, such as psychotherapy or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMG). These treatments are all available at Loyola University Medical Center.

Currently, a VEGF blood test would be quite expensive if it were performed for a patient. But the cost likely would come down significantly if a VEGF test were to become widely used, Halaris said.


'/>"/>
Contact: Jim Ritter
jritter@lumc.edu
708-216-2445
Loyola University Health System
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Low Iron Levels May Increase Blood Clot Risk
2. Key genetic error found in family of blood cancers
3. University of Maryland finds restricting post-surgery blood transfusion is safe for some hip patients
4. Study Finds Fewer Blood Transfusions Needed After Hip Surgeries
5. Cancer Outpatients at Greater Risk for Blood Clots
6. Bone marrow and blood stem cell transplant survival rates equal, when donor is unrelated to patient
7. Massive DNA search uncovers new mutations driving blood cancer
8. Researchers use new finding to clear bloodstream malaria infection in mice
9. Blood pressure monitoring: Room for improvement
10. Brief, high-intensity workouts show promise in helping diabetics lower blood sugar: Study
11. Penn study unlocks origins of blood stem cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/16/2017)... ... February 17, 2017 , ... Teaching nursing care of vulnerable children is the ... (pediatrics) is being created with the support of the Hearst Foundations. An initiative of ... will address what has been identified as a critical gap in preparing the next ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... ... February 16, 2017 , ... As a reflection of ... care, NWH has achieved Magnet® recognition for the second time, announced ... The American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program® distinguishes organizations that meet rigorous ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... ... February 16, 2017 , ... PRESS RELEASE, FOR ... , David A Doege is excited to announce the launch of Doege ... up new builds, design build, and site improvements. , Mr. Doege says, "I ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... ... 16, 2017 , ... A February 6 article on World Health.net ... noting that some 425,000 procedures were performed with the new technology in 2015. ... fact, seeing a great deal of interest from area patients who are seeking out ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Anahata Ananda of Shamangelic Healing, Sedona ... healing and society on the widely followed Aubrey Marcus Podcast in Austin, TX. ... many, the challenges facing them today can be daunting. In this episode, "Healing ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/17/2017)... (NYSE, TASE: PRGO) today announced it has received final approval ... and homatropine methylbromide oral solution (syrup), 5 mg/1.5 mg per ... oral solution (syrup), 5 mg/1.5 mg per 5 mL is ... children 6 years of age and older. Annual sales for ...   ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... , Feb. 17, 2017  In partnership with ... Friends for Good Health , The Jack Brewer ... filled with millions of dollars, worth of medicine to ... Haiti . IHI is a non-profit dedicated to treating ... is extremely active in Haiti ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... February 17, 2017 On Thursday, ... 500 edged lower at the closing bell, while the ... the 20,000 benchmark. Moreover, five out of nine sectors ... consideration yesterday,s market sentiment, Stock-Callers.com assessed the following Medical ... PLC (NYSE: SNN ), ABIOMED Inc. (NASDAQ: ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: