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Levels of Inflammation in Patients with MDD

Studies targeting inflammation to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) often fail to assess baseline levels and significantly reduce inflammation following intervention, a new study found. The systematic review included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) related to the use of anti-inflammatory treatment strategies in individuals who demonstrated elevated concentrations of inflammatory mediators. Among the findings:

  • 51 RCTs were identified, of which 43 were excluded following full-text screening.
  • 8 trials involving 437 individuals were included; 5 utilized anti-inflammatories, 2 utilized omega-3 fatty acids, and 1 utilized exercise and meditation.
  • Only the trial related to exercise and meditation demonstrated both an elevation in baseline inflammation and a significant reduction in inflammation following intervention.


Allison DJ, Sharma B, Timmons BW. The efficacy of anti-inflammatory treatment interventions on depression in individuals with major depressive disorder and high levels on inflammation: A systematic review of randomized clinical trials. [Published online ahead of print May 9, 2019]. Physiol Behav. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.05.006.