Major depression is a serious public health problem and one of the most common psychiatric disorders, and it
is estimated that millions of people are affected worldwide. In addition, patients having depression present cognitive
impairments, which could influence treatment adherence and long-term outcomes. Although, studies have shown that
alterations in the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, in inflammatory and antioxidant systems, and changes in
intracellular pathways are involved in the cognitive impairment verified in depressive patients, it was unclear how these
alterations occur. In this context, animal models of psychiatric disorders are revealed as good alternatives for the study of
pathophysiology of these and associated factors. Thus, this review will highlight studies with animal models that have
helped in understanding the mechanisms involved in cognitive impairment associated with depression, as well as focus on
effective treatments that assist in improving both depression and cognition.
Keywords: Animal models, cellular survival pathway, cognition, depression, immune system, neuroendocrine system.
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