Antidepressant drugs modulate growth factors in cultured cells

BMC Pharmacol. 2008 Mar 4;8:6. doi: 10.1186/1471-2210-8-6.


Background: Different classes of antidepressant drugs are used as a treatment for depression by activating the catecholinergic system. In addition, depression has been associated with decrease of growth factors, which causes insufficient axonal sprouting and reduced neuronal damage repair. In this study, antidepressant treatments are analyzed in a cell culture system, to study the modulation of growth factors.

Results: We quantified the transcription of several growth factors in three cell lines after application of antidepressant drugs by real time polymerase chain reaction. Antidepressant drugs counteracted against phorbolester-induced deregulation of growth factors in PMA-differentiated neuronal SY5Y cells. We also found indications in a pilot experiment that magnetic stimulation could possibly modify BDNF in the cell culture system.

Conclusion: The antidepressant effects antidepressant drugs might be explained by selective modulation of growth factors, which subsequently affects neuronal plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics*
  • Magnetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate