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David Baxter

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Antidepressants stimulate neurogenesis and maturation of adult-born neurons
February 7, 2008

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) speed maturation of neurons as well as increase neurogenesis, according to a report by Columbia University researchers published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Like others, Jing-Wen Wang and collegues found that chronic treatment with the SSRI antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) increased the number of newly born neurons in adult rats.

In addition, fluoxetine treatment decreased the proportion of the new neurons that expressed doublecortin, a marker of young neurons, suggesting that more newborn neurons had reached full maturity. Furthermore, those neurons that did express doublecortin had more extensive dendritic arbors than neurons in controls.

Killing new neurons by x-ray irradiation prevented reduced latency to eat food in the novelty-suppressed feeding test (an indicator of stress) and blocked the enhancement of a form of neurogenesis-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP) that is normally observed in rats chronically treated with fluoxetine. These results indicate that the effects of fluoxetine on LTP and behavior both require neurogenesis and follow a similar delayed time course.

The researchers conclude that the effects of chronic fluoxetine on the maturation and functional properties of young neurons may therefore be necessary for the anxiolytic and antidepressant activity of antidepressants and account for the delay in therapeutic onset.

Source: Wang JW, David DJ, Monckton JE, Battaglia F, Hen R. Chronic Fluoxetine Stimulates Maturation and Synaptic Plasticity of Adult-Born Hippocampal Granule Cells. J Neurosci. 2008 Feb 6;28(6):1374-1384 [Abstract]
 

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