Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Antidepressants and Hippocampal Neurogenesis

Science's STKE  12 Aug 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 195, pp. tw318-TW318
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.195.tw318

Antidepressants can cause rapid increases in serotonin and noradrenaline levels in patients, but usually the clinical benefits are not seen until 3 or 4 weeks have passed. One possible explanation for this delay is that antidepressant drugs change the mood of patients by stimulating neurogenesis. Santarelli et al. studied genetically engineered mice lacking the serotonin 1A receptor and mice whose ability to undergo hippocampal neurogenesis had been blocked by focal irradiation. In both cases, antidepressant-induced neurogenesis was inhibited and the behavioral actions of the antidepressants were abolished.

L. Santarelli, M. Saxe, C. Gross, A. Surget, F. Battaglia, S. Dulawa, N. Weisstaub, J. Lee, R. Duman, O. Arancio, C. Belzung, R. Hen, Requirement of hippocampal neurogenesis for the behavioral effects of antidepressants. Science 301, 805-809 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]