Chapter

Stimulation of rat pineal melatonin synthesis by a single electroconvulsive shock: chronobiological effect of antidepressant therapy?

Gregory F. Oxenkrug, Pura J. Requintina, Iain M. McIntyre and Rosseta Davis

in 5-Hydroxytryptamine in Psychiatry

Published in print February 1991 | ISBN: 9780192620118
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191724725 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192620118.003.0009
Stimulation of rat pineal melatonin synthesis by a single electroconvulsive shock: chronobiological effect of antidepressant therapy?

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Electroconvulsive therapy is considered to be the most effective treatment for endogenous depression, but despite vigorous research there is no consensus on the mechanism of the antidepressant effect. One attempt to explain the mechanism uses a neuroendocrine hypothesis. Because it is generally accepted that the therapeutic effect of electroconvulsive shock (ECS) occurs after chronic (but not single) administration. In the past decade, evidence accumulated that depression might result from desynchronization of circadian rhythms. Such normalization is achieved simply by a single administration of the pineal gland hormone melatonin in rats. Also, administration of a single dose of melatonin has been reported to change circadian rhythms in humans. Elevation of human plasma melatonin levels was observed after a single dose of the heterocyclic antidepressants, desipramine and fluvoxamine, and of monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. If the stimulation of melatonin synthesis with consequent normalization of disrupted circadian rhythms is, indeed, the common denominator of the antidepressant effect, it is interesting to study the effect of ECS on melatonin synthesis.

Keywords: electroconvulsive therapy; endogenous depression; neuroendocrine hypothesis; circadian rhythms; pineal gland hormone; melatonin

Chapter.  2634 words. 

Subjects: Neuroscience

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