Effects of Long-Term Sertraline Treatment and Depression on Coronary Artery Atherosclerosis in Premenopausal Female Primates.
Psychosom Med. 2015 Mar 30. Epub 2015 Mar 30. PMID: 25829239
Carol A Shively
OBJECTIVES: Major depressive disorder and coronary heart disease often co-occur in the same individuals. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are widely prescribed for depression and other disorders, but their effects on coronary heart disease risk remain unclear. We determined the effects of an SSRI on coronary artery atherosclerosis (CAA) in an established nonhuman primate model used to clarify the association between depression and CAA.
METHODS: Forty-two adult female cynomolgus macaques consuming a Western diet were characterized during an 18-month pretreatment phase and assigned to SSRI (sertraline hydrochloride 20 mg/kg, per os, once a day) or placebo balanced on pretreatment depression, body weight (BW), and iliac artery atherosclerosis extent measured via biopsy. After 18 months, CAA extent was measured using histomorphometry.
RESULTS: Before and during treatment, depressed monkeys had lower BW, body mass index, and plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and higher heart rates during the pretreatment (p<.01) but not the treatment phase (p = .17). There were no pretreatment differences between the sertraline and placebo groups. Sertraline reduced anxious behavior but had no effect on BW, body mass index, heart rate, plasma lipids, or depression. CAA, analyzed by a 2 (depressed, nondepressed)× 2 (placebo, sertraline) × 3 (coronary arteries) analysis of covariance adjusted for pretreatment iliac atherosclerosis, was greater in depressed than in nondepressed monkeys (p<.036), and in sertraline than in placebo-treated monkeys (p = .040). The observed CAA extent in depressed monkeys treated with sertraline was 4.9 times higher than that in untreated depressed monkeys, and 6.5 times higher than that in nondepressed monkeys, on average.
CONCLUSIONS: Depressed animals develop more CAA, and long-term treatment with sertraline promotes CAA.