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

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


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 oxydase 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.
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Essential fatty acids
Learned helpless rats
Glucocorticoids and mood
Hippocampal remodelling
CRH, serotonin and suicide
Alcohol, suicide and serotonin
Novelty reward and anhedonia
Suicide: biochemical pathways
The reward system in depression

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