Previous research has established that SSRIs can modify the effect of neuroinflammatory cytokines on cognitive deficits in patients with MDD; however, no studies have investigated serum interleukin-8 (IL-8) levels with regard to cognitive function in MDD patients with SSRIs.

In a recent publication in the journal BMC Psychiatry, researchers conducted a cross-sectional study to investigate serum IL-8 levels, cognitive function, and their connections in patients with MDD treated with SSRIs.

The study was conducted between August 2017 and April 2021 and involved 30 patients (11 males and 19 females) with MDD treated with SSRIs and 101 healthy controls (52 males and 49 females). The researchers assessed cognitive performance utilizing the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) and serum IL-8 levels employing the Human Inflammatory Cytokine Cytometric Bead Array in both groups.

The results revealed that after adjusting for covariates, among the MDD patients treated with SSRIs, the RBANS test scores were considerably lower when compared with those of the individuals in the healthy controls. Additionally, the serum levels of IL-8 were greater among the MDD patients treated with SSRIs than in healthy controls. They also noted that serum IL-8 levels were positively correlated with subscores of delayed memory and visuospatial/constructional scores in MDD patients treated with SSRIs; however, these did not occur in the healthy controls.

The authors indicated that to their knowledge, this is the first cross-sectional study that examined serum IL-8 levels, cognitive function, and their correlations in patients with MDD who were treated with SSRIs.

The authors wrote, “This study had three major findings: 1) cognitive function was worse in MDD patients with SSRIs than in healthy controls; 2) serum log10IL-8 levels were nominally higher in MDD patients with SSRIs than in healthy controls; 3) serum log10IL-8 levels were positively associated with delayed memory and visuospatial/constructional sub-scores in MDD patients with SSRIs.”

In conclusion, the authors indicated that their data further revealed that augmented serum IL-8 levels might be involved in the psychopathology of MDD or the use of SSRIs and elevated serum IL-8 levels contributed to enhancing delayed memory and visuospatial/constructional function of MDD, and cognitive function in patients with SSRIs was impaired in comparison with healthy controls.

“However, the present findings were preliminary due to the relatively small sample size and the absence of a longitude follow-up. Therefore, future studies are warranted to confirm the present findings using a large, independent, and SSRI invention cohort of first-episode drug-free patients with MDD,” the authors concluded.

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.