Effect of sertraline on glucocorticoid sensitivity of mononuclear leukocytes in post-traumatic stress disorder

Rachel Yehuda, Ren Kui Yang, Julia A. Golier, Robert A. Grossman, Linda M. Bierer, Lisa Tischler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study examined the effects of sertraline (SER) on glucocorticoid sensitivity in mononuclear leukocytes (MNL) from eight subjects with current post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and nine comparison subjects. In all, 60 ml of blood was withdrawn by venipuncture at 0800, and MNL were isolated from blood and divided into two portions: the first contained live cells incubated with a series of concentrations of dexamethasone (DEX); the second contained cells incubated with similar concentrations of DEX + 2 μM SER. Group difference in the concentrations of DEX required to inhibit lysozyme activity by 50% were evaluated under conditions of DEX-only and DEX + SER using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). A significant Group x Condition interaction reflected that SER altered the lysozyme IC50-DEX in the direction of decreasing sensitivity to glucocorticoids in PTSD while having no uniform effect in cells from comparison subjects. The data provide support for the idea that glucocorticoid receptors might be more responsive to antidepressants in PTSD than in persons without PTSD. Insofar as increased sensitivity to glucocorticoids has been linked with PTSD, the actions of SER on the lysozyme IC50-DEX suggest that this medication may target a biologic alteration associated with PTSD pathophysiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Antidepressants
  • Glucocorticoid receptors
  • Lysozyme activity
  • Mononuclear leukocytes
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • SSRI
  • Sertraline


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