Protein kinase a in major depression: the link between hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis hyperactivity and neurogenesis.
The latest and most generative biological theories of major depression center on two major hypotheses. The first focuses on the concept that hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis leads to many of the pathological changes in the brain that accompany major depression. The second posits that neurogenesis leads to the repair of depression-related injuries. These two hypotheses are complementary: the former alludes to the etiology or consequences of depression, while the latter suggests mechanisms of antidepressant action. Significant crosstalk occurs between these two systems at many levels. Protein kinase A (PKA) may play an important role in this crosstalk at the intracellular level of signaling cascades. PKA is involved in the formation of long-term potentiation and fear conditioning in response to stress. Chronic stress leads to the suppression of hippocampal activity, which may cause the hyperactivity of the HPA axis during melancholic depression. PKA is also involved in the stimulation of hippocampal neurogenesis after antidepressant treatment. In theory, neurogenesis may lead to the restoration of hippocampal function, and this may be the mechanism that leads to antidepressant-mediated normalization of HPA hyperactivity. Thus, PKA is active during processes that potentially lead to depression and other processes that lead to the resolution of the illness. These opposing processes may be mediated by separate PKA isozymes that activate two distinct pathways. This review highlights the dual role of this enzyme in two biological hypotheses pertaining to depression and its treatment.
Perera, T; Lisanby, SH; Sackheim, HA
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