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Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Dec 1;58(11):871-8. Epub 2005 Jul 25.

Electroconvulsive seizures induce angiogenesis in adult rat hippocampus.

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Molecular Psychiatry Unit, Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, Lund, Sweden.



Electroconvulsive seizure (ECS)-treatment, a model for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been shown to induce proliferation of endothelial cells in the dentate gyrus (DG) of adult rats. Here we quantified the net angiogenic response after chronic ECS-treatment in the molecular layer (ML) of the dentate gyrus. Patients undergoing ECT are routinely oxygenated to prevent hypoxia, a known inducer of angiogenesis. Therefore we also examined the effect of oxygenation on ECS-induced proliferation of endothelial cells.


Total endothelial cell numbers and vessel length were estimated utilizing design based stereological analysis methods. Endothelial cell proliferation in the DG after ECS with or without oxygenation was assessed using bromodeoxyuridine.


The total number of endothelial cells and total vessel length was increased. Oxygenation did not abolish the ECS-induced proliferation of endothelial cells in the DG.


ECS-treatment induces a dramatic increase in endothelial cell proliferation leading to a 30% increase in the total number of endothelial cells. The increase in cell number resulted in a 16% increase in vessel length. These findings raise the possibility that similar vascular growth is induced by clinically administered ECT.

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