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Free Content Hippocampal adult neurogenesis is enhanced by chronic eszopiclone treatment in rats

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The adult hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) exhibits cell proliferation and neurogenesis throughout life. We examined the effects of daily administration of eszopiclone (Esz), a commonly used hypnotic drug and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) agonist, compared with vehicle, on DG cell proliferation and neurogenesis, and on sleep–wake patterns. Esz was administered during the usual sleep period of rats, to mimic typical use in humans. Esz treatment for 7 days did not affect the rate of cell proliferation, as measured by 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU) immunostaining. However, twice-daily Esz administration for 2 weeks increased survival of newborn cells by 46%. Most surviving cells exhibited a neuronal phenotype, identified as BrdU–neuronal nuclei (NeuN) double-labeling. NeuN is a marker of neurons. Non-rapid eye movement sleep was increased on day 1, but not on days 7 or 14 of Esz administration. Delta electroencephalogram activity was increased on days 1 and 7 of treatment, but not on day 14. There is evidence that enhancement of DG neurogenesis is a critical component of the effects of antidepressant treatments of major depressive disorder (MDD). Adult-born DG cells are responsive to GABAergic stimulation, which promotes cell maturation. The present study suggests that Esz, presumably acting as a GABA agonist, has pro-neurogenic effects in the adult DG. This result is consistent with evidence that Esz enhances the antidepressant treatment response of patients with MDD with insomnia.

Keywords: adult neurogenesis; hippocampus; hypnotic; major depressive disorder; sleep; γ-aminobutyric acid

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, UCLA 2: Research Service, Veterans Administration, Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

Publication date: September 1, 2010


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