VEGF serum levels in depressed patients during SSRI antidepressant treatment

Mariacarla Ventriglia, Roberta Zanardini, Laura Pedrini, Anna Placentino, Maria Gabriela Nielsen, Massimo Gennarelli, Luisella Bocchio-Chiavetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent evidence indicates that the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) may be involved in the neuronal mechanisms underlying both the depression aetiology and the response to pharmacological and non pharmacological antidepressant treatments. To investigate whether VEGF peripheral levels are altered in depression and are modulated by antidepressant therapies, we analyzed the serum VEGF concentrations in 25 subjects affected by major depression (MD) before (T0) and after 8 (T8) and 12 (T12) weeks of escitalopram treatment. No significant alterations in VEGF serum levels were found at T0, even considering possible effects of confounders such as gender and smoking habit (r2 = 0.227 p = 0.74). No changes appeared during the treatment (F(1.83, 43.86) = 0.962; p = 0.383) and there was no correlation between percentage VEGF variations at T12 and symptoms improvements (p = 0.823). The present work represents the first report on the evaluation of serum VEGF levels in MD patients. However, before discarding serum VEGF as a biochemical marker in the diagnosis and treatment of depression, our negative results need to be confirmed in larger patient samples stratified for clinical characteristics, co-morbidities, cardiovascular diseases and confounding factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-149
Number of pages4
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2009


  • Antidepressant
  • Depression
  • Escitalopram
  • Serum
  • VEGF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology


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