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Neuron. 2003 Apr 24;38(2):157-60.

Finding the intracellular signaling pathways affected by mood disorder treatments.

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Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA 02478, USA.


Postmortem and brain imaging studies have revealed structural changes and cell loss in cortico-limbic regions of the brain in bipolar disorder and major depression. Consistent with these findings, mood stabilizers such as lithium ion and valproic acid, which are used to treat bipolar disorder, as well as antidepressants and electroconvulsive therapy have recently been shown to activate interconnected intracellular signaling pathways that promote neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity. These insights should assist in understanding the pathophysiology of severe mood disorders as well as aid in the development of more effective treatments.

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