Electroconvulsive Stimuli Alter Nerve Growth Factor but Not Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Concentrations in Brains of a Rat Model of Depression

Neuropeptides. 2003 Feb;37(1):51-6. doi: 10.1016/s0143-4179(03)00004-0.


Nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are proteins involved in neuronal survival and plasticity of dopaminergic, cholinergic and serotonergic neurons in the central nervous system (CNS). Moreover, it has been hypothesized that these molecules play a role in the pathophysiology as well as treatment of depression. Using an animal model of depression, the Flinders Sensitive Line (FSL) rats and their controls, the Flinders Resistant Line (FRL), we investigated the effects of electroconvulsive stimuli (ECS) on brain NGF and BDNF. ECS or SHAM ECS were administered eight times, with a 48-h interval between each treatment. NGF and BDNF were measured with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In the hippocampus ECS increased NGF concentration in FSL but not FRL rats. ECS decreased NGF concentration in the frontal cortex of FSL rats. In both FSL and FRL rats ECS increased NGF levels in the striatum. In contrast, ECS did not change BDNF concentration in hippocampus, frontal cortex and striatum of FSL and FRL rats. Our data support the notion that neurotrophin concentrations may be altered by ECS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Depression / genetics
  • Depression / metabolism*
  • Electroshock*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Male
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Nerve Growth Factors