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Neurosci Lett. 2009 Jun 19;457(1):12-5. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2009.03.104. Epub 2009 Apr 5.

Effects of chronic fluoxetine treatment on the rat somatosensory cortex: activation and induction of neuronal structural plasticity.

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Cell Biology Department, Neurobiology Unit and Program in Basic and Applied Neurosciences, Universitat de València., Spain.


Recent hypotheses support the idea that disruption of normal neuronal plasticity mechanisms underlies depression and other psychiatric disorders, and that antidepressant treatment may counteract these changes. In a previous report we found that chronic fluoxetine treatment increases the expression of the polysialylated form of the neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM), a molecule involved in neuronal structural plasticity, in the somatosensory cortex. In the present study we intended to find whether, in fact, cell activation and neuronal structural remodeling occur in parallel to changes in the expression of this molecule. Using immunohistochemistry, we found that chronic fluoxetine treatment caused an increase in the expression of the early expression gene c-fos. Golgi staining revealed that this treatment also increased spine density in the principal apical dendrite of pyramidal neurons. These results indicate that, apart from the medial prefrontal cortex or the hippocampus, other cortical regions can respond to chronic antidepressant treatment undergoing neuronal structural plasticity.

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