Comparing the Immune-Genomic Effects of Vilazodone and Paroxetine in Late-Life Depression: A Pilot Study

Harris Eyre, Prabha Siddarth, Natalie Cyr, Hongyu Yang, Steve Cole, Malcolm Forbes, Helen Lavretsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background Vilazodone is a novel antidepressant agent that combines selective serotonin (5-HT) reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) activity and 5-HT(1A) receptor partial agonist activity. Objective A pilot study was conducted to compare vilazodone (novel compound) and paroxetine (gold standard) on antidepressant effects, tolerability, and inflammation and immune modulation. Methods A 12-week, double-blind, randomized clinical trial was conducted with 56 nondemented older adults diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD). Between-group differences in mood, tolerability, and safety, as well as genomic markers of inflammation and immune modulation, were examined. Results Both treatment groups demonstrated similar improvement in depressed mood. Leukocyte gene expression profiles demonstrated reduction of specific proinflammatory gene transcripts and bioinformatic indications of reduced nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), activator protein (AP)-1, and cAMP response element binding (CREB) activity in the vilazodone group compared to the paroxetine group. Transcript origin analyses implicated monocytes and dendritic cells as the primary cellular origins of transcript reductions in the vilazodone-treated group. Conclusions Vilazodone's antidepressant effects may be associated with reduction of proinflammatory gene expression and immune modulation. Further research is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-263
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • antidepressant
  • gene
  • geriatric depression
  • immune
  • inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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