Validation of an animal model of anhedonia,
a major symptom of depression

by
Moreau JL
Division pharmaceutique,
F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Bale, Suisse.
Encephale 1997 Jul-Aug; 23(4):280-9


ABSTRACT

One of the two core symptoms of human depression is anhedonia, the loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities. Daily stressful life events are recognized as predisposing factors in the etiology of depression. Rats submitted to a regimen of chronic, mild, unpredictable stress exhibit behavioral deficits consistent with a loss of responsiveness to reward, such as decreased sucrose consumption, decreased ability to associate rewards with a distinctive environment, and decreased sensitivity to rewarding electrical brain stimulation. Normal behavior can be restored by chronic treatment with tricyclics, atypical antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors and electroshocks, but not by other psychotropic agents such as antipsychotics. In addition, chronically stressed animals exhibit REM sleep abnormalities resembling those observed in depressed patients and recognized as biological markers of depression. These data provide evidence supporting chronic stress-induced anhedonia in rats as an original animal model of human depression combining convergent elements of biological, etiological, symptomatological and therapeutic validity. This realistic simulation of depression may prove useful for a better understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms involved in depressive disorders.
Anhedonia
Amineptine
Melancholy
SSRIs v NARIs
Mood disorders
Antidepressants
Drugs and reward
Retarded depression
Stress and anhedonia
An individualised approach
Depression without sadness
Stress, depression and the rat
Novelty, reward and anhedonia
The reward system in depression
Depression and the mesolimbic dopamine system
Reduced hedonic capacity in major depressive disorder

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