Dehydroepiandrosterone and monoamines in the limbic system of a genetic animal model of childhood depression

O. Malkesman, Y. Braw, E. Ram, R. Maayan, A. Weizman, N. Kinor, G. Yadid, A. Weller

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9 Scopus citations


Monoamines and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels were measured in a genetic animal model for childhood depression in four subcortical structures: nucleus accumbens (Nac), ventral tegmental area (VTA), amygdala and hypothalamus. The "depressive-like" strain was the Flinders Sensitive Line (FSL), compared to their controls, Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. Prepubertal FSL rats showed abnormal levels of only a few monoamines and their metabolites in these brain regions. This is in contrast to former studies, in which adult FSL rats exhibited significantly higher levels of all the monoamines and their metabolites measured. These different abnormal monoamine patterns between the "depressed" prepubertal rats and their adults, may help to explain why depressed children and adolescents fail to respond to antidepressant treatment as well as adults do. On the other hand, FSL prepubertal rats exhibited the same pattern of abnormal DHEA basal levels as was found in adults in previous experiments. The results from the current study may imply that treatment with DHEA could be a promising novel therapeutic option for depressed children and adolescents that fail to respond to common (monoaminergic) antidepressant treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-261
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by a grant for the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) to Aron Weller; the ISF had no further role in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the paper for publication.

Funding Information:
The research reported in this paper was completed as part of the first and second authors' Ph.D. dissertations, in the Interdisciplinary Program in the Brain Sciences and the Department of Psychology (respectively), Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel. OM and YB were supported by President's fellowships, Bar-Ilan University. The authors thank Dr. David Overstreet for his assistance. This work was supported by a grant from the Israel Science Foundation to A. Weller. Work in A. Weller's lab is partially supported by the Paula Rich Foundation.


  • Animal model
  • Childhood depression
  • DHEA
  • FSL
  • Limbic system
  • Monoamines


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