Stress and BDNF Signal Transduction: Implications for Stress-Related Psychiatric Disorders
It is well known that stress is a major risk factor for psychiatric disorders, such as major depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These illnesses can have some common symptoms, such as psychogenic amnesia, diminished interest, and impaired concentration, suggesting that the underlying pathophysiology of depression and PTSD may have common features (Friedman and Yehuda 1995). Clinical studies have provided support for this possibility. Brain imaging studies have demonstrated that the volume of the hippocampus is decreased in patients with major depression (Sheline et al. 1996) or patients with PTSD (Bremner et al. 1995). These findings suggest that atrophy or death of neurons in the hippocampus may contribute to the pathogenesis of depression and PTSD. In support of this hypothesis, basic research studies have demonstrated that chronic stress causes atrophy or, in extreme cases, death of hippocampal neurons in rats and nonhuman primates.
KeywordsNerve Growth Factor Brain Derive Neurotrophic Factor Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Chronic Restraint Stress Brain Derive Neurotrophic Factor Expression
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