Chronic depression as a model disease for cerebral aging

Bettina H. Bewernick, Thomas E. Schlaepfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Conceptualizations of the underlying neurobiology of major depression have changed their focus from dysfunctions of neurotransmission to dysfunctions of neurogenesis and neuroprotection. The "neurogenesis hypothesis of depression" posits that changes in the rate of neurogenesis are the underlying mechanism in the pathology and treatment of major depression. Stress, neuroinflammation, dysfunctional insulin regulation, oxidative stress, and alterations in neurotrophic factors possibly contribute to the development of depression. The influence of antidepressant therapies, namely pharmacotherapy and neuroprotectants, on cellular plasticity are summarized. A dysfunction of complex neuronal networks as a consequence of neural degeneration in neuropsychiatric diseases has led to the application of deep brain stimulation. We discuss the way depression seen in the light of the neurogenesis hypothesis can be used as a model diseasefor cerebral aging. A common pathological mechanism in depression and cerebral aging-a dysfunction of neuroprotection and neurogenesis- is discussed. This has implications for new treatment methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalDialogues in Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013


  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Antidepressant Therapy
  • Cerebral Aging
  • Deep Brain Stimulation
  • Depression
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Neuroprotectant
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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