Does Stress Elicit Depression? Evidence From Clinical and Preclinical Studies

  • Helle M. Sickmann
  • Yan Li
  • Arne Mørk
  • Connie SanchezEmail author
  • Maria Gulinello
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 18)


Exposure to stressful situations may induce or deteriorate an already existing depression. Stress-related depression can be elicited at an adolescent/adult age but evidence also shows that early adverse experiences even at the fetal stage may predispose the offspring for later development of depression. The hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA-axis) plays a key role in regulating the stress response and dysregulation in the system has been linked to depression both in humans and in animal models. This chapter critically reviews clinical and preclinical findings that may explain how stress can cause depression, including HPA-axis changes and alterations beyond the HPA-axis. As stress does not elicit depression in the majority of the population, this motivated research to focus on understanding the biology underlying resilient versus sensitive subjects. Animal models of depression have contributed to a deeper understanding of these mechanisms. Findings from these models will be presented.


Depression Clinical studies Animal models Stress resilience Vulnerability factors 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helle M. Sickmann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yan Li
    • 3
  • Arne Mørk
    • 2
  • Connie Sanchez
    • 3
    Email author
  • Maria Gulinello
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Lundbeck Research DKCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Lundbeck Research USAParamusUSA
  4. 4.Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva UniversityBronxUSA

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