Electroconvulsive stimulation, but not chronic restraint stress, causes structural alterations in adult rat hippocampus—A stereological study

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Abstract

The neurobiological mechanisms underlying depression are not fully understood. Only a few previous studies have used validated stereological methods to test how stress and animal paradigms of depression affect adult hippocampal neurogenesis and whether antidepressant therapy can counteract possible changes in an animal model. Thus, in this study we applied methods that are state of the art in regard to stereological cell counting methods. Using a validated rat model of depression in combination with a clinically relevant schedule of electroconvulsive stimulation, we estimated the total number of newly formed neurons in the hippocampal subgranular zone. Also estimated were the total number of neurons and the volume of the granule cell layer in adult rats subjected to chronic restraint stress and electroconvulsive stimulation either alone or in combination. We found that chronic restraint stress induces depression-like behavior, without significantly changing neurogenesis, the total number of neurons or the volume of the hippocampus. Further, electroconvulsive stimulation prevents stress-induced depression-like behavior and increases neurogenesis. The total number of neurons and the granule cell layer volume was not affected by electroconvulsive stimulation. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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