Rodent models of depression-cardiovascular comorbidity: Bridging the known to the new

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Numerous epidemiological studies have demonstrated a close and bidirectional association between depression and cardiovascular disorders (CVD). This comorbidity places a significant burden on individuals and the healthcare system. Not surprisingly, in the last two decades preclinical research in the field of depression and CVD has rapidly progressed. Multiple studies have demonstrated that aspects of human depression/cardiovascular comorbidity can be modeled in rodents exposed to chronic stress paradigms and that a depressive-like syndrome can be induced in rodent models of CVD. This research has provided insights into neural, autonomic, humoral, immune and circulatory mechanisms linking co-occurring mood and CVD. Recent investigations have started to address gender and individual differences in the vulnerability to both disorders and have begun to explore the efficacy of novel pharmacological interventions for the treatment of these comorbid conditions. This review discusses relatively well-established findings and the latest discoveries from rodent models of depression and CVD, with the aim of providing an up-to-date reference which may guide future studies of the relationship between mood and cardiovascular disturbances.

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