Growing evidence suggests that inflammation may be the biological pathway linking physical and psychiatric disorders, such as depression. This evidence has led to the investigation of the antidepressant effect of anti-inflammatory agents, as add-on treatment or as monotherapy. This article reviews the literature about the role of inflammation in depression, with a particular focus on the communication between the peripheral and the central immune system, the role of brain microglia and the blood-brain barrier. In the second part of this manuscript, the Authors review the current evidence on the use of antiinflammatory treatments in depression. The paper concludes by highlighting the unresolved questions and challenges for future studies, such as the need of in vivo models of the link between peripheral and central inflammation and the identification of subgroups of patients with depression that would benefit from anti-inflammatory treatments.
Keywords: Inflammation, Depression, Microglia, Anti-inflammatory agents, Minocycline, Blood-brain barrier.