Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Crit Rev Neurobiol. 1999;13(4):317-56.

A noradrenergic and serotonergic hypothesis of the linkage between epilepsy and affective disorders.

Author information

Department of Biomedical and Therapeutic Sciences, University of Illinois College of Medicine-Peoria, 61656, USA.


Noradrenergic and/or serotonergic deficits, as well as other abnormalities, may contribute to predisposition to some epilepsies and depressions. Evidence for this hypothesis stems from several sources. Epidemiological investigations are intriguing but incomplete. Pharmacological studies show that noradrenergic and/or serotonergic transmission are both anticonvulsant and antidepressant. Therapeutically pertinent investigations show that antidepressant drugs have anticonvulsant properties, whereas antiepileptic drugs are effective in the management of affective disorders. Additional investigations demonstrate that seizures, whether spontaneously occurring or therapeutically induced, protect against depression. Through studies of innate pathophysiology, noradrenergic and serotonergic deficits have been identified in individuals with depression and in animal models of epilepsy, as well as in some humans with epilepsy. Vagal nerve stimulation, a treatment already known to be effective in the epilepsies, is presently under investigation for effectiveness in affective disorder. New evidence suggests that vagal nerve stimulation exerts at least some of its therapeutic effects through its capacity to increase noradrenergic and serotonergic transmission. Finally, emerging evidence supports the concept that some genetic mammalian models of the human epilepsies exhibit analogous manifestations of depression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center