Depression is one of the prevalent and persistent psychiatric illnesses. It brings heavy
socioeconomic burden such as healthcare expenditures and even higher suicide rates. Despite many
hypotheses about its mechanism have been put forward, so far it is still unclear, not to mention the
precise and effective diagnostic or therapeutic methods. In this paper, the current conditions of
pathological and pharmacological mechanism of depression were reviewed systematically. Firstly, the
most recent hypotheses and metabolomics based research including hereditary, neurotransmitter
systems, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), hyperactivity of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and
inflammatory as well as metabolomics were summarized. Secondly, the present situation and development on
antidepressant drugs at home and abroad were reviewed. Finally, a conclusion and prospect on the pathological and
pharmacological mechanism of depression were provided primarily.
Keywords: Antidepressant drugs, BDNF, depression, HPA axis, inflammatory, metabolomics, neurotransmitter systems.
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