Antidepressants May Slow Growth of Brain Amyloid Plaques

Yvette I. Sheline, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry, Radiology, Neurology Director, Center for Neuromodulation in Depression and Stress (CNDS) University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine Philadelphia, PA 19104MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Yvette I. Sheline, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry, Radiology, Neurology
Director, Center for Neuromodulation in Depression and Stress (CNDS)
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
Philadelphia, PA 19104

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of this study?

Prof. Sheline: The main findings were that in transgenic mice who are genetically altered to develop Alzheimer’s amyloid plaques, citalopram dramatically slowed the growth of plaques but did not cause existing plaques to shrink. In normal young people, it decreased the production of amyloid.

MedicalResearch: What should patients and clinicians take away from this report?

Prof. Sheline: At this point it is premature to say that there is any relevance for clinicians or patients. There is no evidence that these drugs have benefit for treating the neurodegeneration of Alzheimer’s Disease. We are hopeful, however, that we can proceed in a systematic way to develop a preventive strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease.

MedicalResearch: What further research do you recommend as a result of this study?

Prof. Sheline: The next step we will take (we are starting this study momentarily) is to enroll older cognitively normal volunteers to have their CSF tested for amyloid concentration before and after taking an SSRI or placebo for 2 weeks. This will enable us to determine if the drug effect is sustained. If that trial is successful then we will plan a prevention trial where we use an SSRI to treat cognitively normal elderly at risk for Alzheimer’s Disease and where we hope to show that giving an SSRI for several years prevents brain plaque growth as determined by PET scanning.

Citation:

An Antidepressant Decreases CSF Aβ Production in Healthy Individuals and in Transgenic AD Mice

Yvette I. Sheline, Tim West, Kevin Yarasheski, Robert Swarm, Mateusz S. Jasielec, Jonathan R. Fisher, Whitney D. Ficker, Ping Yan, Chengjie Xiong, Christine Frederiksen, Monica V. Grzelak, Robert Chott, Randall J. Bateman, John C. Morris, Mark A. Mintun, Jin-Moo Lee, and John R. Cirrito

Sci Transl Med 14 May 2014 6:236re4. [DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3008169]

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