Unraveling the role of hippocampus in antidepressant effects - from molecules to systems
Early works have demonstrated that adult neurogenesis in hippocampus is required for critical behavioural effects of antidepressants (Santarelli et al, 2003; Surget et al, 2008). How might the daily addition of extra adult-generated newborn neurons in the hippocampus, a structure mostly known for its role in spatial navigation and episodic memory, be critical in alleviating complex mood- and stress-related disorders, like depression or anxiety? What mechanisms could mediate such significant effects by such a restricted phenomenon? I hence aimed at identifying the processes underlying chronic stress and antidepressant effects at molecular, cellular and system levels. All these findings provide a mechanistic framework for understanding the contribution of hippocampus, and especially the involvement of adult neurogenesis in the therapeutic effects of antidepressants.