April 12, 2021
Commonly used antidepressant may contribute to improved outcomes for patients with liver disease
Depression is common and often treated with antidepressants. However, the way antidepressants alter immunity remains poorly understood. B cells are white blood cells that regulate how our immune system controls diseases, including liver disease.
In a recent study published in Frontiers in Immunology and conducted by researchers from the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at UCalgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, findings show that treatment of mice with the widely used antidepressant mirtazapine causes a rapid shift in the B cell population within the liver, from a more pro-inflammatory type to a type that limits inflammation. This shift was in turn linked to decreased B cell patrolling within the blood vessels in the liver and through them sticking to other immune cells within the liver that also regulate liver immune responses. These findings suggest that mirtazapine can change how our liver responds to infections or other causes of injury and may contribute to improved outcomes in patients with liver disease.
This work was supported by a Team Grant (Chronic Inflammation Initiative) awarded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Dr. Mark Swain as principal investigator), and by the Cal Wenzel Family Foundation Chair in Hepatology (held by Dr. Swain).