November 28, 2020

Targeting Homeostatic Synaptic Plasticity for Treatment of Mood Disorders

Ketamine exerts rapid antidepressant action in depressed and treatment-resistant depressed patients within hours. At the same time, ketamine elicits a unique form of functional synaptic plasticity that shares several attributes and molecular mechanisms with well-characterized forms of homeostatic synaptic scaling. Lithium is a widely used mood stabilizer also proposed to act via synaptic scaling for its antimanic effects. Several studies to date have identified specific forms of homeostatic synaptic plasticity that are elicited by these drugs used to treat neuropsychiatric disorders. In the last two decades, extensive work on homeostatic synaptic plasticity mechanisms have shown that they diverge from classical synaptic plasticity mechanisms that process and store information and thus present a novel avenue for synaptic regulation with limited direct interference with cognitive processes. In this review, we discuss the intersection of the findings from neuropsychiatric treatments and homeostatic plasticity studies to highlight a potentially wider paradigm for treatment advance.

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