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Neurogenesis as a New Target for the Development of Antidepressant Drugs

[ Vol. 20 , Issue. 23 ]


Jesus Pascual-Brazo, Veerle Baekelandt and Juan Manuel Encinas   Pages 3763 - 3775 ( 13 )


Thirteen years have passed since the neurogenic hypothesis of depression was postulated. One of its aspects, that decreased neurogenesis could be causative of the onset of depression has been difficult to prove. Another aspect, the prediction that increasing neurogenesis would not only be supportive but also required to produce clinical results by antidepressants has gathered experimental validation. Thus a question arises: should new antidepressant strategies based solely on increasing neurogenesis be pursued? At the risk of disappointing the audience, we will not provide a straight answer to this question in this review, but we do hope to enlighten the reader regarding what is known about adult hippocampal neurogenesis, the indications and evidence of its involvement in the onset and treatment of depression, and the advances that have been made in the field in recent years. As we will recount here, the main body of support in favor of the neurogenic hypothesis of depression is based more on intimation than actual proof. However the rare examples that provide support are sufficiently robust to justify investment of resources and effort to clarify the issue, even if the involvement of neurogenesis, both in the etiology and the treatment of depression, is only partial and comprises only subtle components of this complex mental disorder.


Depression, adult hippocampal neurogenesis, stress.


, , Achucarro Basque Centre for Neuroscience., Bizkaia Technological Park building 205. 48170 Zamudio, Bizkaia, Spain.

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