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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2009 Sep;66(18):2985-3008. doi: 10.1007/s00018-009-0055-x. Epub 2009 Jun 12.

Depression and antidepressants: molecular and cellular aspects.

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  • 1Department of Experimental and Applied Pharmacology, Centre of Excellence in Applied Biology, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.


Clinical depression is viewed as a physical and psychic disease process having a neuropathological basis, although a clear understanding of its ethiopathology is still missing. The observation that depressive symptoms are influenced by pharmacological manipulation of monoamines led to the hypothesis that depression results from reduced availability or functional deficiency of monoaminergic transmitters in some cerebral regions. However, there are limitations to current monoamine theories related to mood disorders. Recently, a growing body of experimental data has showed that other classes of endogenous compounds, such as neuropeptides and amino acids, may play a significant role in the pathophysiology of affective disorders. With the development of neuroscience, neuronal networks and intracellular pathways have been identified and characterized, describing the existence of the interaction between monoamines and receptors in turn able to modulate the expression of intracellular proteins and neurotrophic factors, suggesting that depression/antidepressants may be intermingled with neurogenesis/neurodegenerative processes.

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