The study found that among depressed patients who had higher than normal blood levels of VEGF, more than 85 percent experienced partial or complete relief from depression after taking escitalopram, while fewer than 10 percent of patients who had low levels of VEGF responded to the drug. Some scientists have proposed that SSRIs like escitalopram promote neurogenesis, the regeneration of cells in specific parts of the brain that have atrophied in depressed patients. The Loyola study supports the neurogenesis theory; in the brain, VEGF stimulates the growth of blood vessels and works in other ways to keep brain cells healthy and active.
Predicting who will best respond to antidepressant treatment is an important goal for individualizing therapy. For more information on this subject see Psychiatric News here.