Despite the strong evidence that depression is an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD), the underlying physiological mechanisms linking depression and CAD remain poorly understood.
This review of the literature focuses on the current understanding of the physiological effects of serotonin on depression and clotting as well as its role in CAD.
Articles for this review were identified using CINAHL, PsychINFO, and MEDLINE searches.
Results revealed that depression is an independent risk factor for CAD. Although the physiological mechanisms underlying depression and related increases in acute coronary events remain unclear, serotonin plays an important role in depression and CAD. Elevated platelet serotonin levels promote clotting, which may be a potential underlying mechanism linking depression with CAD.
This review of the literature suggests that elevated platelet serotonin levels may be associated with depression and the occurrence of major adverse coronary events. Future research should investigate if platelet serotonin levels contribute at least in part to the acute coronary events seen in patients with CAD who have elevated levels of platelet serotonin when depressed.