Telomere length and telomerase activity of leukocytes as biomarkers of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor responses in patients with major depressive disorder
We analyze the leukocyte telomere length (LTL) and telomerase activity in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) before and after treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Before treatment, there was a reduction in the LTLs and expression levels of the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) in the patients with MDD compared with controls. However, after 24 weeks of treatment with SSRIs, there was a significant increase in the LTLs and the expression levels of hTERT, with values approaching those observed in the controls. We conclude that SSRI antidepressant therapy can directly influence the increased expression levels of hTERT in patients.