- Adult Neurogenesis, Chronic Stress and Depression
- Book title
- Adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus: health, psychopathology, and brain disease
- Pages (from-to)
- London: Academic Press
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
A major risk factor for depression in vulnerable individuals is exposure to stress during critical periods. Stress affects mood and cognition and is also one of the best known inhibitors of adult neurogenesis that has been associated with hippocampal changes and atrophy, common findings in major depression (models).
While the effects of acute or mild stress are generally short-lived and recover quickly, chronic and severe stress can induce longer lasting reductions in neurogenesis that, depending on the age of exposure, can affect hippocampal structure and function, alter hippocampal plasticity, and increase vulnerability to psychopathology.
Stress-induced reductions in neurogenesis can in part be normalized by positive stimuli for plasticity such as exercise, by drugs targeting the stress system, and by some, but not all, antidepressants. Exposure to stress during sensitive periods of (early) life increases the risk for developing cognitive or anxiety symptoms, common to many brain diseases, including depression. Recruiting the plasticity still present in the adult brain, e.g., through normalization of neurogenesis, may be required for a successful treatment response and recovery.
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