Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Prozac and Celexa exhibit anti-inflammatory effects

SSRIs offer model for drug development opportunities to treat rheumatoid arthritis

A new study found that fluoxetine (Prozac®) and citalopram (Celexa®) treatment significantly inhibited disease progression of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in mice. Research led by Sandra Sacre, Ph.D. from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) in the UK studied the anti-arthritic potential of these drugs, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), most commonly used to treat depression.

Both SSRIs exhibited anti-inflammatory effects and may provide drug development opportunities for arthritic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Full findings of this study are published in the March issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

RA is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the lining of the joints. Typically, RA first affects hand and foot joints and later the disease spreads to larger joints. Inflammation eventually erodes the cartilage between the joints (articular cartilage) causing pain, stiffness, joint deformity, and physical disability. According to the 2000 Global Disease Burden study by the World Health Organization (WHO), RA affects approximately 1% of the world population.

To understand the anti-inflammatory properties of SSRIs, the research team at The Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology investigated the use of fluoxetine and citalopram in mouse and human models of RA. Dr Sacre, a lecturer in molecular cell biology at BSMS, a partnership between the universities of Brighton and Sussex, said: "We were interested in SSRIs because of their reported anti-inflammatory effects." "Prior studies have shown that patients with depression who respond to treatment with SSRIs display a reduction in cytokine levels (signals that can induce inflammation), suggesting a connection between SSRIs and the immune system."

In the current study, researchers used a CIA mouse model due to the similarities to human RA, including synovitis, bone erosion and pannus formation. At the onset of arthritis, mice were treated daily for 7 days with a dose of 10 or 25 mg/kg of fluoxetine and 25 mg/kg of citalopram. At the lower dose of fluoxetine the mice showed a small reduction in the clinical score (a combined measure of redness, swelling and joint mobility/deformity) and a slower increase in paw swelling. At a dose of 25 mg/kg, fluoxetine halted disease progression and no further elevation was noted in the clinical score or paw swelling. "We observed reduced inflammation, reduced cartilage and bone erosion, and a preservation of the joint structure in the mice treated with a higher dose of fluoxetine," commented Dr. Sacre. Citalopram was not as effective as fluoxetine at inhibiting disease progression in this model.

Researchers also observed a decrease in cytokine production from cultures of human RA synovial joint tissues that were treated with SSRIs. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are strong activators of immune cells leading to the production of cytokines that can induce inflammation. Fluoxetine was found to inhibit the activation of TLRs more effectively than citalopram.

"While the SSRIs effectively target TLRs contributing to inflammation and could provide therapeutic benefit in RA, they are not ideal candidates to progress into clinical trials," concluded Dr. Sacre. The levels of the SSRIs required to halt disease progression are higher than normally prescribed for standard treatment (depression in humans). "Our data suggests that effective inhibition of RA would require levels of the drugs higher than the safe therapeutic dosages." The authors suggest further study of the role of TLRs in chronic inflammation may uncover drugs that offer an effective treatment of RA in the future.

Article: "Fluoxetine and Citalopram Exhibit Potent Antiinflammatory Activity in Human and Murine Models of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Inhibit Toll-like Receptors." Sandra Sacre, Mino Medghalchi, Bernard Gregory, Fionula Brennan, and Richard Williams. Arthritis & Rheumatism; Published Online: February 25, 2010 (DOI: 10.1002/art.23704); Print Issue Date: March 2010.

This study is published in Arthritis & Rheumatism. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact

Arthritis & Rheumatism is an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology and covers all aspects of inflammatory disease. The American College of Rheumatology ( is the professional organization who share a dedication to healing, preventing disability, and curing the more than 100 types of arthritis and related disabling and sometimes fatal disorders of the joints, muscles, and bones. Members include practicing physicians, research scientists, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, and social workers. For details please visit,

Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit or

Dawn Peters | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

TIB’s Visual Analytics Research Group to develop methods for person detection and visualisation

19.03.2018 | Information Technology

Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

19.03.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>