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Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive and well-tolerated brain stimulation technique with promising efficacy as an add-on treatment for schizophrenia and for several other psychiatric disorders. tDCS modulates neuroplasticity; psychiatric disorders are established to be associated with neuroplasticity abnormalities. This review presents the summary of research on potential genetic basis of neuroplasticity-modulation mechanism underlying tDCS and its implications for treating various psychiatric disorders.
A systematic review highlighting the genes involved in neuroplasticity and their role in psychiatric disorders was carried out. The focus was on the established genetic findings of tDCS response relationship with BDNF and COMT gene polymorphisms.
Synthesis of these preliminary observations suggests the potential influence of neuroplastic genes on tDCS treatment response. These include several animal models, pharmacological studies, mentally ill and healthy human subject trials.
Taking into account the rapidly unfolding understanding of tDCS and the role of synaptic plasticity disturbances in neuropsychiatric disorders, in-depth evaluation of the mechanism of action pertinent to neuroplasticity modulation with tDCS needs further systematic research. Genes such as NRG1, DISC1, as well as those linked with the glutamatergic receptor in the context of their direct role in the modulation of neuronal signalling related to neuroplasticity aberrations, are leading candidates for future research in this area. Such research studies might potentially unravel observations that might have potential translational implications in psychiatry.
Stress increases DNA methylation and decreases the expression of genes involved in neural plasticity, while treatment with DNA methyltransferase inhibitors (DNMTi) increases gene expression and induces antidepressant-like effects in preclinical models. Therefore, the aim of the present work was to further investigate the potential antidepressant-like effect induced by DNMTi by evaluating the behavioural effects induced by associating DNMTi treatment with conventional antidepressant drugs in mice submitted to the forced swimming test (FST). In addition, brain levels of DNA methylation were also investigated.
Mice received systemic injections of 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-AzaD, 0.1, 0.2 mg/kg), RG108 (0.1, 0.2, 0.4 mg/kg), desipramine (DES, 2.5, 5, 10 mg/kg) or fluoxetine (FLX, 5, 10, 20, 30 mg/kg) and were submitted to the FST or to the open field test (OFT). Additional groups received a combination of subeffective doses of 5-AzaD or RG108 (DNMTi) with subeffective doses of DES or FLX (antidepressants).
Subeffective doses of RG108 (0.1 mg/kg) or 5-AzaD (0.1mg/kg) in association with subeffective doses of DES (2.5 mg/kg) or FLX (10 mg/kg) induced significant antidepressant-like effects. Effective doses of RG108 (0.2 mg/kg), 5-AzaD (0.2 mg/kg), DES (10 mg/kg) and FLX (20 mg/kg) atenuated stress-induced changes in DNA methylation levels in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. None of the treatments induced locomotor effects in the OFT.
These results suggest that DNMTi potentiate the behavioural effects of antidepressant drugs in the FST and that antidepressants, as well as DNMTi, are able to modulate stress-induced changes in DNA methylation in brain regions closely associated with the neurobiology of depression.
Quercetin, one of the most potent flavonol in the family of flavonoids, has been shown to have benefits against diabetes and its complications. In the present study, we investigated effects of quercetin on depression-like behaviours and hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis in diabetic rats.
Experimental diabetes was induced by using streptozotocin, and either 50 or 100 mg/kg quercetin was intraperitoneally administered for 21 days. Following the last treatment, animals were subjected to the forced swim test, and subsequently, the blood was obtained by cardiac puncture to measure plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and corticosterone (CORT) levels.
A significant increase of the total immobile time, accompanied by a decrease in the immobility latency, which suggests a depressive status, was observed in diabetic animals that was reversed by the treatment of 50 mg/kg quercetin. However, the higher dose of quercetin (100 mg/kg) was ineffective in alleviating depression-like behaviours. The plasma concentrations of ACTH, and total- and free-CORT were not affected by both doses of quercetin.
Therefore, we concluded that the antidepressant-like effects of quercetin in diabetes are independent of the HPA axis.
Fluid intelligence (Gf) has been related to executive functioning (EF) in previous studies, and it is also known to be correlated with crystallized intelligence (Gc). The present study includes representative measures of Gf, Gc, and EF frequently used in clinical practice to examine this Gf–EF relation. It is hypothesised that the Gf–EF relation is higher than the Gc–EF relation, and that working memory in particular (as a measure of EF) shows a high contribution to this relation.
Confirmatory factor analysis was performed on a mixed neuropsychiatric and non-clinical sample consisting of 188 participants, using the Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test, and three executive tasks of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery, covering working memory, planning skills, and set shifting.
The model fitted the data well [χ2(24)=35.25, p=0.07, RMSEA=0.050]. A very high correlation between Gf and EF was found (0.91), with working memory being the most profound indicator. A moderate to high correlation between Gc and EF was present. Current results are consistent with findings of a strong relation between Gf and working memory.
Gf and EF are highly correlated. Gf dysfunction in neuropsychiatric patients warrants further EF examination and vice versa. It is discussed that results confirm the need to distinguish between specific versus general fluid/executive functioning, the latter being more involved when task complexity and novelty increase. This distinction can provide a more refined differential diagnosis and improve neuropsychiatric treatment indication.
It has been reported that lithium may inhibit lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation. Lithium salts also appear to stimulate cell proliferation, increase neurogenesis, and delay cell death. Oxidative stress and neurodegeneration may play an important role in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder and the disease course thereof. The aim of this research is to estimate the influence of lithium (alone and in combination with haloperidol) on the parameters of oxidative stress and viability of SH-SY5Y cell lines in neutral and pro-oxidative conditions.
The evaluated oxidative stress parameter was lipid peroxidation. The viability of the cell lines was measured utilising the MTT test.
In neutral conditions, higher levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances were observed in those samples which contained both haloperidol and lithium than in other samples. However, these differences were not statistically significant. Cell viability was significantly higher in therapeutic lithium samples than in the controls; samples of haloperidol alone as well as those of haloperidol with lithium did not differ from controls.
The results of our study may indicate that lithium possess neuroprotective properties that may be partly due to antioxidative effects. The combination of lithium and haloperidol may generate increased oxidative stress.
Some clinical studies have reported reduced peripheral glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) level in elderly patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). We verified whether a reduction in plasma GDNF level was associated with MDD.
Plasma GDNF level was measured in 23 healthy control subjects and 23 MDD patients before and after 6 weeks of treatment.
Plasma GDNF level in MDD patients at baseline did not differ from that in healthy controls. Plasma GDNF in MDD patients did not differ significantly from baseline to the end of treatment. GDNF level was significantly lower in recurrent-episode MDD patients than in first-episode patients before and after treatment.
Our findings revealed significantly lower plasma GDNF level in recurrent-episode MDD patients, although plasma GDNF levels in MDD patients and healthy controls did not differ significantly. The discrepancy between our study and previous studies might arise from differences in the recurrence of depression or the ages of the MDD patients.
Treatment-resistant depression is a challenging problem in the clinical setting. Tipepidine has been used as a non-narcotic antitussive in Japan since 1959.
We administered tipepidine to 11 patients with treatment-resistant depression. Tipepidine was given for 8 weeks as an augmentation.
Tipepidine significantly improved depression scores on the Hamilton Rating Scale for depression. Add-on treatment with tipepidine significantly improved scores on the trail making test and Rey auditory verbal learning test. However, no changes were observed in blood concentrations of stress-related hormones (adrenocorticotropic hormone, cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate) with tipepidine augmentation.
Tipepidine might be a potential therapeutic drug for treatment-resistant depression.
11β-dehydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD) types 1 and 2, enzymes are involved in the activation and inactivation of glucocorticoids in vivo, respectively. Indirect evidence implicates two enzymes in the aetiology of depression but no study has directly assessed the potential role of 11 β-HSD1 in animal tests.
We assessed 11 β-HSD1 knockout mice in the forced swim test (FST), tail suspension test (TST) and for locomotor activity.
Genetic ablation of the 11β-HSD1 gene results in an antidepressant-like phenotype in the FST; the most widely utilised animal test of antidepressant activity, but not in the related TST. This may be related to the different biological substrates underlying these tests. The decreased FST immobility was not due to alterations in general activity.
Taken together these results suggest that 11β-HSD1 may play an important role in depression-related behaviours and further studies are necessary to fully characterise its role in such behaviour.