Journal article Open Access

Hippocampal neurogenesis and antidepressive therapy: shocking relations.

Rotheneichner, Peter; Lange, Simona; O’Sullivan, Anna; Marschallinger, Julia; Zaunmair, Pia; Geretsegger, Christian; Aigner, Ludwig; Couillard-Despres, Sebastien

Speculations on the involvement of hippocampal neurogenesis, a form of neuronal plasticity, in the aetiology of depression and the mode of action of antidepressive therapies, started to arise more than a decade ago. But still, conclusive evidence that adult neurogenesis contributes to antidepressive effects of pharmacological and physical therapies has not been generated yet. This review revisits recent findings on the close relation between the mode(s) of action of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), a powerful intervention used as second-line treatment of major depression disorders, and the neurogenic response to ECT. Following application of electroconvulsive shocks, intricate interactions between neurogenesis, angiogenesis, and microglia activation, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the secretion of neurotrophic factors have been documented. Furthermore, considering the fact that neurogenesis strongly diminishes along aging, we investigated the response to electroconvulsive shocks in young as well as in aged cohorts of mice.

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