R Blazina (Dep Bioquímica, ICBS, UFRGS) for technical assistanc

R. Blazina (Dep. Bioquímica, ICBS, UFRGS) for technical assistance in culture material preparation, to the undergraduate students F.R. Machado, J.B. Pinto, M. Terra and MSc C.S.R. Terra for technical assistance in some experiments, to Ph.D. Fátima T.C.R. Guma for kindly supplying the GM1 ganglioside. “

is a severe disorder that has enormous consequences for the individual’s quality of life, and it is among the most prevalent forms of mental illness. Clinical symptoms like depressed mood, anhedonia, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and the diminished ability to concentrate or think are characteristics of depression. Despite the devastating impact of depression, relatively little is known about the etiology selleck compound and pathogenesis of depression (Larsen et al., 2010). Lamotrigine is an anticonvulsant drug that has shown efficacy in the treatment of bipolar depression and resistant major depressive selleckchem episodes (Bowden et al., 1999, Calabrese et al., 1999, Frye et al., 2000 and Barbosa et al., 2003). However, the mechanism of antidepressant action of lamotrigine is still unclear.

Although the blockade of neuronal voltage-dependent sodium channels elicited by lamotrigine has an important role in its anticonvulsant effect, and it shares a common action with other mood stabilizing anticonvulsants, the antiglutamatergic effect of lamotrigine has been implicated in its mood effect (Ketter et al., 2003). In addition to these effects, lamotrigine also blocks neuronal voltage-dependent calcium channels (Ketter et al., 2003) Moreover, the reduction of glutamate release induced by lamotrigine may be related to the blockade of neuronal voltage-dependent sodium and calcium channels (Ketter et al., 2003). Reduced glutamatergic neurotransmission has been related to an antidepressant effect. For example, antagonists of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) complex exhibit an antidepressant-like effect in animal models of depression (Paul and Skolnick,

2003, Réus et al., from 2010 and Réus et al., 2011). Moreover the lamotrigine presents effects in dopaminergic, adrenergic, muscarinic, opioid, adenosine, serotonin (5HT3) and 5HT1A receptors (for a review see: Goldsmith et al., 2003). Evidence indicates that neurotrophins such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF) may play a role in the pathophysiology of depression and that antidepressants may in part exert their effects through the regulation of BDNF and NGF. Several clinical studies have reported that serum BDNF levels are decreased in depressed patients, and that they can be normalized by antidepressant treatment (Brunoni et al., 2008 and Gervasoni et al., 2005). The understanding of the signaling pathways in neurons or the investigation of new components with already discovered ones can be considered as the basis to finding molecular–biological causes of neuropsychiatric diseases (D’Sa and Duman, 2002).

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