, Volume 2, Issue 6, pp 479-489

Post-receptor signaling pathways in the pathophysiology and treatment of mood disorders

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The molecular medicine revolution has resulted in a more complete understanding about the etiology and pathophysiology of a variety of illnesses. This remarkable progress reflects in large part the elucidation of the basic mechanisms of signal transduction, and the application of the powerful tools of molecular biology to the study of human disease. Although we have yet to identify the speci&c abnormal genes in mood disorders, recent studies have implicated signal transduction pathways, in particular the stimulatory guanine nucleotide binding protein (Gs)/cyclic AMP and protein kinase C pathways, in the pathophysiology and treatment of mood disorders. Recent studies have also shown that mood stabilizers exert neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects not only in preclinical paradigms, but also in humans. Together, these studies suggest that mood disorders may be associated with impaired neuroplasticity and cellular resiliency, &ndings that may have major implications for our understanding of mood disorders, and for the development of improved therapeutics.