Anandamide, Cannabinoid Type 1 Receptor, and NMDA Receptor Activation Mediate Non-Hebbian Presynaptically Expressed Long-Term Depression at the First Central Synapse for Visceral Afferent Fibers.

Anandamide, Cannabinoid Type 1 Receptor, and NMDA Receptor Activation Mediate Non-Hebbian Presynaptically Expressed Long-Term Depression at the First Central Synapse for Visceral Afferent Fibers.

J Neurosci. 2013 Jul 31; 33(31): 12627-37
Khlaifia A, Farah H, Gackiere F, Tell F

Presynaptic long-term depression (LTD) of synapse efficacy generally requires coordinated activity between presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons and a retrograde signal synthesized by the postsynaptic cell in an activity-dependent manner. In this study, we examined LTD in the rat nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS), a brainstem nucleus that relays homeostatic information from the internal body to the brain. We found that coactivation of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) and type 1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1Rs) induces LTD at the first central excitatory synapse between visceral fibers and NTS neurons. This LTD is presynaptically expressed. However, neither postsynaptic activation of NMDARs nor postsynaptic calcium influx are required for its induction. Direct activation of NMDARs triggers cannabinoid-dependent LTD. In addition, LTD is unaffected by blocking 2-arachidonyl-glycerol synthesis, but its induction threshold is lowered by preventing fatty acid degradation. Altogether, our data suggest that LTD in NTS neurons may be entirely expressed at the presynaptic level by local anandamide synthesis. HubMed – depression

Tryptophan: The key to boosting brain serotonin synthesis in depressive illness.

J Psychopharmacol. 2013 Jul 31;
Badawy AA

It has been proposed that focusing on brain serotonin synthesis can advance antidepressant drug development. Biochemical aspects of the serotonin deficiency in major depressive disorder (MDD) are discussed here in detail. The deficiency is caused by a decreased availability of the serotonin precursor tryptophan (Trp) to the brain. This decrease is caused by accelerated Trp degradation, most likely induced by enhancement of the hepatic enzyme tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO) by glucocorticoids and/or catecholamines. Induction of the extrahepatic Trp-degrading enzyme indolylamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) by the modest immune activation in MDD has not been demonstrated and, if it occurs, is unlikely to make a significant contribution. Liver TDO appears to be a target of many antidepressants, the mood stabilisers Li(+) and carbamazepine and possibly other adjuncts to antidepressant therapy. The poor, variable and modest antidepressant efficacy of Trp is due to accelerated hepatic Trp degradation, and efficacy can be restored or enhanced by combination with antidepressants or other existing or new TDO inhibitors. Enhancing Trp availability to the brain is thus the key to normalisation of serotonin synthesis and could form the basis for future antidepressant drug development. HubMed – depression

The role of mineralocorticoid receptor function in treatment-resistant depression.

J Psychopharmacol. 2013 Jul 31;
Juruena MF, Pariante CM, Papadopoulos AS, Poon L, Lightman S, Cleare AJ

Background:Treatment-resistant depression patients show both reduced glucocorticoid receptor function and a hyperactive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. However, few studies have examined the role of the mineralocorticoid receptor. This study aimed to evaluate the functional activity of the mineralocorticoid receptor system in regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in well-defined treatment-resistant depression patients.Material and method:We recruited 24 subjects divided into: (a) treatment-resistant depression; (b) healthy controls. We evaluated: (a) the effect of combined glucocorticoid receptor/mineralocorticoid receptor stimulation with prednisolone; (b) the effect of prednisolone with the mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist spironolactone; and (c) the effect of spironolactone alone. The response of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis was measured using salivary cortisol and plasma levels of drugs were also measured.Results:Treatment-resistant depression patients had higher cortisol compared with controls after all challenges. In controls, spironolactone increased cortisol compared to placebo. The co-administration of spironolactone with prednisolone in controls decreases the suppressive effects of prednisolone. In contrast, in treatment-resistant depression, spironolactone did not increase cortisol compared to placebo and spironolactone with prednisolone had no effect on the suppressive effects of prednisolone. Patients with treatment-resistant depression had a reduction in the conversation of spironolactone to the active metabolite canrenone.Conclusion:Our data confirmed that treatment-resistant depression is associated with hypercortisolism and these patients no longer show an hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal response to the administration of a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist, suggesting that there is a mineralocorticoid receptor malfunctioning, such as a down regulation, however, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in these subjects could also have had an effect on the lack of mineralocorticoid receptor response. HubMed – depression

Anhedonia revisited: Is there a role for dopamine-targeting drugs for depression?

J Psychopharmacol. 2013 Jul 31;
Argyropoulos SV, Nutt DJ

It is 16 years since we reviewed anhedonia in depression. Since then, there have been important developments in the study of anhedonia, mainly using the new techniques that neuroimaging made available, which provide very interesting new insights. It is becoming increasingly apparent that anhedonia, with psychomotor retardation, defines a dimension in depressive disorder that seems to be distinct from a dimension encompassing mood plus somatic symptoms. These dimensions can coexist, but may also be present separately. The first appears associated with disturbances (under-functioning) in dopamine function; the other appears to be related to a similar under-functioning in the serotonin system. Furthermore, anhedonia itself increasingly appears to be a composite symptom, consisting of at least two dimensions (i.e. a motivational/appetitive and a consummatory one). Depression appears to be characteristically linked more to the first one, in contrast to what was originally thought. We discuss the significance of the above in the evolving treatment of depression and the potential use of dopamine-targeting drugs. HubMed – depression