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Salud mental

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3325


VEGA-RIVERA, Nelly Maritza et al. Regulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis by estrogens: relationship to depression. Salud Ment [online]. 2012, vol.35, n.6, pp.527-533. ISSN 0185-3325.

Estrogens produce a wide range of biological effects throughout the body, including the Central Nervous System (CNS). In the brain, besides acting as neuroprotective agents, estrogens play an important role in many neuronal processes and certain psychiatric disorders such as depression. The precise mechanism by which estrogens induce their positive effects on depressive disorders has not been elucidated; however, it is known that estrogens act on the CNS through the activation of specific receptors. These actions occur in genomic and non-genomics mechanisms through the modulation of synthesis and metabolism of neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, neurosteroids and influencing the morphological features of neurons and synaptic function. In addition, it is known that estrogens can act as modulators of processes related to neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis is a neuroplastic process that is affected by antidepressant drugs. These drugs increase the number of new neurons following a temporal course that correlates within the time in which antidepressants cause a behavioral improvement in rodents and in humans. Interestingly, whereas the behavioral antidepressant effects require 2-4 weeks to appear, after treatment initiation, estrogen reduce the depressive-like behavior and induce cell proliferation in terms of days. Thus, antidepressant drugs and the estrogens replacement during the adulthood could influence in a similar manner the new neuron formation. Furthermore, recent works have indicated that the combination of antidepressants plus estrogens could exert beneficial actions at lower doses of estrogens (physiological range). This evidence is important due to the combination of non-effective doses of antidepressants plus estrogens could decrease the side-effects of both compounds, and facilitate the behavioral action of antidepressant drugs shortening the latency to onset their action. The present review discusses recent information about the implication of estrogens in depression, and on their effects as positive regulators of new neuron formation in the adult hippocampus. In addition, we will review the possible implication of last effect of estrogens on their antidepressant effects.

Palabras llave : Estrogens; depression; adult neurogenesis; stress; antidepressants.

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