Neurobiology of mood, anxiety, and emotions as revealed by studies of a unique antidepressant: tianeptine

Mol Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;10(6):525-37. doi: 10.1038/


Recent studies have provided evidence that structural remodeling of certain brain regions is a feature of depressive illness, and the postulated underlying mechanisms contribute to the idea that there is more to antidepressant actions that can be explained exclusively by a monoaminergic hypothesis. This review summarizes recent neurobiological studies on the antidepressant, tianeptine (S-1574, [3-chloro-6-methyl-5,5-dioxo-6,11-dihydro-(c,f)-dibenzo-(1,2-thiazepine)-11-yl) amino]-7 heptanoic acid, sodium salt), a compound with structural similarities to the tricyclic antidepressant agents, the efficacy and good tolerance of which have been clearly established. These studies have revealed that the neurobiological properties of tianeptine involve the dynamic interplay between numerous neurotransmitter systems, as well as a critical role of structural and functional plasticity in the brain regions that permit the full expression of emotional learning. Although the story is far from complete, the schema underlying the effect of tianeptine on central plasticity is the most thoroughly studied of any antidepressants. Effects of tianeptine on neuronal excitability, neuroprotection, anxiety, and memory have also been found. Together with clinical data on the efficacy of tianeptine as an antidepressant, these actions offer insights into how compounds like tianeptine may be useful in the treatment of neurobiological features of depressive disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Amygdala / cytology
  • Amygdala / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / pharmacology*
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / therapeutic use
  • Anxiety / drug therapy*
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology
  • Emotions / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity / drug effects
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Prefrontal Cortex / cytology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects
  • Thiazepines / pharmacology*
  • Thiazepines / therapeutic use


  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Thiazepines
  • tianeptine