A body of evidence emerging in antidepressant and antidementia research has revealed a convergence of molecular events known to regulate neuronal plasticity in learning and memory with molecular actions of drugs for the treatment of depression. Many antidepressants are reported to have positive impact on learning and memory. These include agents acting through monoaminergic neurotransmitter systems, non-monoaminergic transmitter systems, and hormones. On the other hand, agents that appear to have memory-enhancing or antidementia value are frequently found to exhibit antidepressant activity in patients and animal depression models. It is becoming clear that the comorbidity of depression and dementia does not occur by chance, but rather is an inevitable consequence of pathologic relationships between the conditions. Molecular mechanisms and cascades that underlie memory may be shared by mood regulation and are vulnerable to stress and injuries. This review focuses on recent findings regarding effects of a variety of agents on dementia and depression and their common molecular mechanisms as well as their differences. A better understanding of the key underlying molecular components whose changed activities have dramatic influences on mood and cognition may lead to the development of novel and more effective therapeutic agents for the treatment of depression and dementia. In this review, some of the recent findings that suggest novel therapeutic strategies are also highlighted.
Keywords: alzheimer's disease, amygdala, antidepressants, cognition, dementia, depression, hippocampus, memory therapy
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