The significance of the nitric oxide in electro-convulsive therapy: A proposed neurophysiological mechanism

Ytzhak Rosen, Ilya Reznik, Ariel Sluvis, Desmond Kaplan, Roberto Mester

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is used to treat patients with major depressive disorder, manic episodes and other serious mental disorders. Virtually every neurotransmitter system is affected in ECT. The significance of the nitric oxide (NO), which has an established role as a neurotransmitter, neuromodulator, and an intraneuronal second messenger, in ECT is still not clear. We described the involvement of NO in long-term potentiation, the N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor activity, regulation of cerebral blood flow, and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis and propose that this involvement is critical in ECT's efficiency, treatment refractoriness, and neuropsychological sequelae by its influences on these systems. Nitric oxide's significant role in other pathophysiological mechanisms has led to current therapeutic protocols and may be applicable in this setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-429
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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