Dehydroepiandrosterone in the nucleus accumbens is associated with early onset of depressive-behavior: A study in an animal model of childhood depression

O. Malkesman, M. Shayit, R. Genud, A. Zangen, N. Kinor, R. Maayan, A. Weizman, A. Weller, G. Yadid

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16 Scopus citations


Although the monoamine theory of depression is well studied, regarding childhood depression it is poorly supported. Antidepressant treatments affecting the monoaminergic system fail to ameliorate childhood depression in the same manner that they affect adult depression. The present study used the Flinders sensitive line (FSL) rat, a well-investigated genetic animal model of depression and Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats as controls. We co-measured monoamines and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels in the nucleus accumbens on postnatal day 1, in prepubertal rats (35 days), and adult rats (4 months) in order to examine developmental characteristics in the monoamine systems. The results suggest that there are different ontogenetic patterns of monoaminergic activity in FSL and SD rats. While monoamine levels were different only in adulthood, FSL rats exhibited lower DHEA levels already in prepubertal childhood. These differences may be relevant to the poor response to antidepressant drugs observed in depressed children and suggest DHEA as a new marker for childhood depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-581
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 9 Nov 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research reported in this paper was completed as part of the first author’s Ph.D. dissertation, in the Interdisciplinary Program in the Brain Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel. M.S. was a postdoctoral fellow at Bar-Ilan University. O.M. was supported by a President’s fellowship, Bar-Ilan University. This work was supported by grants from the Israel Science Foundation to A. Weller, and from the Mayer Foundation for Research to A. Weizman. Work in A. Weller’s laboratory was also supported by the Paula Rich Center, Bar-Ilan University. The authors would like to thank Dr. D. H. Overstreet of the Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA for his help and advice and Dr. A. Goldstein from the Gonda (Goldschmied) Brain Research Center, Bar-Ilan University, Israel, for his generous help in statistics and in data analysis.


  • FSL rats
  • animal models of depression
  • monoamines
  • neurosteroids


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