Interleukin 17 selectively predicts better outcomes with bupropion-SSRI combination: Novel T cell biomarker for antidepressant medication selection

Manish K. Jha, Abu Minhajuddin, Bharathi S. Gadad, Tracy L. Greer, Taryn L. Mayes, Madhukar H. Trivedi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Background: Interleukin 17 (IL-17) is produced by highly inflammatory Th17 cells and has been implicated in pathophysiology of depression. IL-17 putatively disrupts the blood brain barrier and affects dopamine synthesis whereas dopamine has been shown to decrease Th17 cell-mediated immune response. Nevertheless, whether IL-17 can predict differential treatment outcome with antidepressants modulating dopaminergic transmission is unknown. Methods: IL-17 and other T cell and non-T cell markers (Th1, Th2 and non-T cell markers) were measured with the Bioplex Pro™ human cytokine 27-plex kit in the Combining Medications to Enhance Depression Outcomes (CO-MED) trial participants who provided baseline plasma and were treated with either bupropion plus escitalopram (bupropion-SSRI), escitalopram plus placebo (SSRI monotherapy), or venlafaxine plus mirtazapine (n = 166). Differential changes in symptom severity and side-effects based on levels of IL-17 and other T and non-T cell markers were tested using a treatment-arm-by-biomarker interaction in separate repeated measures mixed model analyses. Subsequent analyses stratified by treatment arm were conducted for those markers with a significant interaction. Results: There was a significant treatment-arm-by-IL-17 interaction for depression severity (p = 0.037) but not for side-effects (p = 0.28). Higher baseline IL-17 level was associated with greater reduction in depression severity (effect size = 0.78, p = 0.008) in the bupropion-SSRI but not the other two treatment arms. Other T and non-T cell markers were not associated with differential treatment outcomes. Conclusion: Higher baseline levels of IL-17 are selectively associated with greater symptomatic reduction in depressed patients treated with bupropion-SSRI combination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-110
Number of pages8
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • Antidepressant
  • Bupropion
  • Dopamine
  • Inflammation
  • Interleukin 17
  • Moderator
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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