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Brain Res. 2008 Sep 4;1228:14-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2008.06.059. Epub 2008 Jun 24.

Age-dependent decline in hippocampal neurogenesis is not altered by chronic treatment with fluoxetine.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA.


There has been ongoing controversy as to whether selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) exhibit the same antidepressant efficacy and risk profile within different age groups. Although the etiology of such potential differences is currently not clear, age-dependent differences in the rate of hippocampal neurogenesis offer one possibility. In the current studies we have therefore examined whether fluoxetine, the prototypical selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, differentially modulates neurogenesis in adolescent, young adult, and aged rats. Proliferation in the dentate gyrus was measured by assaying expression of the endogenous proliferative marker, Ki67. Survival of proliferating cells was assayed by staining with BrdU. We confirmed previous reports that the rate of neurogenesis, as well as the survival of proliferating cells, decreases significantly with age. Moderate decreases were found in young adult rats relative to adolescent rats, and profound decreases were found in aged rats. We additionally found that age did not alter the response to 25 days of treatment with fluoxetine. In fact, we did not observe enhancement of hippocampal neurogenesis, nor enhancement of proliferating cell survival, in any of the three age groups despite using doses of fluoxetine which have been reported to be effective. In addition to finding no age-dependent effects, our data question the general reproducibility of previously reported fluoxetine effects in animals.

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