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Margaret Mead
Research Article

Cellular consequences of stress and depression


Stress is known to activate distinct neuronal circuits in the brain and induce multiple changes on the cellular level, including alterations in neuronal structures. On the basis of clinical observations that stress often precipitates a depressive disease, chronic psychosocial stress serves as an experimental model to evaluate the cellular and molecular alterations associated with the consequences of major depression. Antidepressants are presently believed to exert their primary biochemical effects by readjusting aberrant intrasynaptic concentrations of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin or noradrenaline, suggesting that imbalances viihin the monoaminergic systems contribute to the disorder (monoaminergic hypothesis of depression). Here, we reviev the results that comprise our understanding of stressful experience on cellular processes, with particular focus on the monoaminergic systems and structural changes within brain target areas of monoaminergic neurons.