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Depletion of adult neurogenesis using the chemotherapy drug Temozolomide in mice induces behavioural and biological changes relevant to depression

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1101
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalTranslational psychiatry
Issue number4
Early online date25 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


King's Authors


Numerous studies have examined links between post-natal neurogenesis and depression using a range of experimental methods to deplete neurogenesis. The anti-mitotic drug Temozolomide (TMZ) has previously been used successfully as an experimental tool in animals to deplete adult neurogenesis and is used regularly on human patients as a standard chemotherapy for brain cancer. In this study, we wanted to evaluate whether TMZ as a model for chemotherapy treatment could affect parameters related to depression in an animal model. Prevalence rates of depression in patients is thought to be highly underdiagnosed, with some studies reporting rates as high as 90%. Results from this study in mice, treated with a regimen of TMZ similar to humans, exhibited behavioural and biochemical changes which have relevance to the development of depression. In particular, behavioural results demonstrated robust deficits in processing novelty and a significant increase in the corticosterone response. Quantification of neurogenesis using a novel sectioning method which clearly evaluates dorsal and ventral neurogenesis separately, showed a significant correlation between the level of ventral neurogenesis and the corticosterone response. Depression is a complex disorder with discoveries regarding its neurobiology and how it relates to behaviour being only in their infancy. The findings presented in this study demonstrate that chemotherapy induced decreases in neurogenesis results in previously unreported behavioural and biochemical consequences. These results, we argue, are indicative of a biological mechanism which may contribute to the development of depression in patients being treated with chemotherapy and is separate from the mental distress resulting from a cancer diagnosis.

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