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Acid sphingomyelinase-ceramide system mediates effects of antidepressant drugs


Gulbins, E; Palmada, M; Reichel, M; Lüth, A; Böhmer, C; Amato, D; Müller, C P; Tischbirek, C H; Groemer, T W; Tabatabai, G; Becker, K A; Tripal, P; Staedtler, S; Ackermann, T F; van Brederode, J; Alzheimer, C; Weller, M; Lang, U E; Kleuser, B; Grassme, H; Kornhuber, J (2013). Acid sphingomyelinase-ceramide system mediates effects of antidepressant drugs. Nature Medicine, 19(7):934-938.

Abstract

Major depression is a highly prevalent severe mood disorder that is treated with antidepressants. The molecular targets of antidepressants require definition. We investigated the role of the acid sphingomyelinase (Asm)-ceramide system as a target for antidepressants. Therapeutic concentrations of the antidepressants amitriptyline and fluoxetine reduced Asm activity and ceramide concentrations in the hippocampus, increased neuronal proliferation, maturation and survival and improved behavior in mouse models of stress-induced depression. Genetic Asm deficiency abrogated these effects. Mice overexpressing Asm, heterozygous for acid ceramidase, treated with blockers of ceramide metabolism or directly injected with C16 ceramide in the hippocampus had higher ceramide concentrations and lower rates of neuronal proliferation, maturation and survival compared with controls and showed depression-like behavior even in the absence of stress. The decrease of ceramide abundance achieved by antidepressant-mediated inhibition of Asm normalized these effects. Lowering ceramide abundance may thus be a central goal for the future development of antidepressants.

Abstract

Major depression is a highly prevalent severe mood disorder that is treated with antidepressants. The molecular targets of antidepressants require definition. We investigated the role of the acid sphingomyelinase (Asm)-ceramide system as a target for antidepressants. Therapeutic concentrations of the antidepressants amitriptyline and fluoxetine reduced Asm activity and ceramide concentrations in the hippocampus, increased neuronal proliferation, maturation and survival and improved behavior in mouse models of stress-induced depression. Genetic Asm deficiency abrogated these effects. Mice overexpressing Asm, heterozygous for acid ceramidase, treated with blockers of ceramide metabolism or directly injected with C16 ceramide in the hippocampus had higher ceramide concentrations and lower rates of neuronal proliferation, maturation and survival compared with controls and showed depression-like behavior even in the absence of stress. The decrease of ceramide abundance achieved by antidepressant-mediated inhibition of Asm normalized these effects. Lowering ceramide abundance may thus be a central goal for the future development of antidepressants.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:15 Aug 2013 13:03
Last Modified:16 Feb 2018 17:57
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:1078-8956
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.3214
PubMed ID:23770692

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