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Neurogenesis in the adult brain: The association with stress and depression
Date:8/31/2008

luence, as well as negative modulators such as acute and chronic stress.

While stress has been found to inhibit adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus a brain area that is central to emotion, memory and learning , antidepressant treatment has the opposite effect. Moreover, patients with mood disorders often have reduced hippocampal volumes. This evidence rapidly led to the formulation of the 'neurogenesis hypothesis' of depression, which says that adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus is a candidate substrate for both the etiology and the treatment of major depressive disorders. However, according to the current view, newborn cells in the hippocampus per se may not be critical for the development of depression, but may be required for certain behavioural effects of antidepressants (Sahay & Hen, 2007).

Recent research has proven that the adult brain is capable of generating new nerve cells (neurons). Neurogenesis can be influenced by positive and negative modulators.

The role of gliogenesis

There is increasing evidence that in addition to neurogenesis, stress and antidepressant treatment also induce changes in the formation of specific glial support cells (=gliogenesis) that are critical for the survival of the neurons in the brain. There are about 100 times more glial cells than nerve cells, providing energy and nutrition to the neurons. Besides their housekeeping functions, glial cells are instrumental to neural communication and regarded as dynamic regulators of synaptic strength and synapse formation. They also possess receptors for neurotransmitters and steroid hormones that, similarly to receptors of neurons, can trigger electrical and biochemical events in the cell. Therefore, structural changes of glial cells are likely to have an important functional significance for the communication between neurons and between neurons and glial cells.

In the adult brain various antidepressant treatment strategies c
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Contact: Sonja Mak
s.mak@update.europe.at
43-140-557-340
European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Source:Eurekalert

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