- Study Author(s):
- Ignácio ZM, Réus GZ, Arent CO, Abelaira HM, Pitcher MR, Quevedo J.
- Journal Name:
- British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 2016 Nov;82(5):1280-1290
- Publication Date:
- 2016 Jan 8
Despite the revolution in recent decades regarding monoamine involvement in the management of major depressive disorder (MDD), the biological mechanisms underlying this psychiatric disorder are still poorly understood. Currently available treatments require long time courses to establish antidepressant response and a significant percentage of people are refractory to single drug or combination drug treatment. These issues, and recent findings demonstrating the involvement of synaptic plasticity in the pathophysiological mechanisms of MDD, are encouraging researchers to explore the molecular mechanisms underlying psychiatric disease in more depth. The discovery of the rapid antidepressant effect exerted by glutamatergic and cholinergic agents highlights the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway as a critical pathway that contributes to the efficacy of these pharmacological agents in clinical and pre-clinical research. The mTOR pathway is a downstream intracellular signal that transmits information after the direct activation of α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate (AMPA) and neurotrophic factor receptors. Activation of these receptors is hypothesized to be one of the major axes involved in the synthesis of synaptogenic proteins underlying synaptic plasticity and critical to both the rapid and delayed effects exerted by classic antidepressants. This review focuses on the involvement of mTOR in the pathophysiology of depression and on molecular mechanisms involved in the activity of emerging and classic antidepressant agents.