Citalopram Decreases ABeta Plaque Accumulation in APP Mice and CSF ABeta in Humans

2010 Pilot Project Read More


Principal Investigator: Jin-Moo Lee (WashU Neurology)
Co-investigators: Yvette Sheline (formerly WashU Psychiatry) , Robert Swarm (WashU Anesthesiology)


The investigators will conduct two studies in parallel: a mouse study to determine the longitudinal growth of amyloid plaques in transgenic mice and a human study to determine the acute effects of antidepressants in human CSF. Dr. Sheline and her co-investigators have demonstrated that antidepressants lower amyloid production in mouse brain in transgenic mice. They now extend the study to determine the effect on amyloid plaque accumulation. In addition they will gather preliminary data on antidepressant effects on human CSF amyloid, a marker of Alzheimer’s disease.

Grants and Awards

“Citalopram Decreases Amyloid-B Synthesis in Human CSF”
NIH-NINDS, R21AG0390690-01A1 (PI, Sheline)
This project will determine whether compared to placebo, SSRI antidepressants lower the production of Aβ in human CSF.

“Citalopram decreases CSF Aβ: a randomized dose finding trial”
NIH-NINDS, R01AG041502-01A1 (PI, Sheline)

“Synaptic regulation of ERK-mediated amyloid-β metabolism”
NIH-NINDS, R01AG042513 (PI, Cirrito)


Cirrito JR, DiSabato BM, Restivo JL, Verges DK, Goebel WD, Sathyan A, Hayreh D, D’Angelo G, Benzinger T, Yoon H, Kim J, Morris JC, Mintun MA, Sheline YI. Serotonin signaling is associated with lower amyloid-beta levels and plaques in transgenic mice and humans. PNAS, 108:14968-73 (2011).

Sheline YI, West T, Yarasheski K, Swarm R, Jasielec MS, Fisher JR, Ficker WD, Yan P, Xiong C, Frederiksen C, Grzelak MV, Chott R, Bateman RJ, Morris JC, Mintun MA, Lee JM, Cirrito JR.  An antidepressant decreases CSF Aβ production in healthy individuals and in transgenic AD mice. Sci Transl Med, 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008169 (2014).

Jonathan R. Fisher, Clare E. Wallace, Danielle L. Tripoli, Yvette I. Sheline and John R. Cirrito. Redundant Gs-coupled serotonin receptors regulate amyloid-β metabolism in vivo. Mol Neurodegener. 2016 Jun 18;11(1):45.

Updated January 2019

Hope Center Investigators

Jin-Moo Lee


This pilot is made possible by a generous gift from Doug and Vicki Hill, and the Danforth Foundation Challenge.

Danforth Challenge