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Advances in Pharmacological Sciences
Volume 2009, Article ID 405107, 11 pages
Research Article

Monoamines, BDNF, Dehydroepiandrosterone, DHEA-Sulfate, and Childhood Depression—An Animal Model Study

1Interdisciplinary Program in the Brain Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 52900, Israel
2The Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 52900, Israel
3Department of Psychology, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 52900, Israel
4Biological Psychiatry Laboratory, Felsenstein Medical Research Center, Beilinson Campus, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Petah Tikva 49100, Israel
5Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 52900, Israel

Received 9 February 2009; Revised 8 June 2009; Accepted 24 July 2009

Academic Editor: Alison Oliveto

Copyright © 2009 O. Malkesman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Basal levels of monoamines and DHEA in four main limbic brain regions were measured in prepubertal Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats (a putative animal model of childhood depression). Basal levels of “Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF)” were also determined in two regions in the hippocampus, compared with Wistar strain controls. In the second phase, we examined the responsiveness of prepubertal WKY rats to different types of chronic antidepressant treatments: Fluoxetine, Desipramine, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS). WKY prepubertal rats exhibited different monoamine levels in the limbic system, reduced DHEA levels in the VTA and lower levels of BDNF in the hippocampus CA3 region compared to controls. In prepubertal WKY rats, only treatment with DHEAS produced a statistically significant decrease in immobility, compared to saline-administered controls in the forced swim test. Wistar controls were not affected by any antidepressant. The results imply that DHEA(S) and BDNF may be involved in the pathophysiology and pharmacotherapy of childhood depression.