Does neurotropin-3 have a therapeutic implication in major depression?

Chi Un Pae, David M. Marks, Changsu Han, Ashwin A. Patkar, David Steffens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Although several classes of antidepressants are used to treat major depression, there is an unmet need in real clinical practice because not all patients treated with an antidepressant fully recover from their functional impairment. Hence, the development of new antidepressants based on a novel therapeutic mechanism may help in the development of more effective and ideal antidepressive agents. There is emerging evidence suggesting that the etiopathogenesis of depression involves transmitters other than the major neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Therefore, it has consistently been suggested that an alteration in neuroprotection and synaptic plasticity is associated with the pathogenesis and therapeutic mechanism of depression. Neurotropin-3 (NT3) is an interesting protein that regulates neuronal survival, synaptic plasticity, and neurotransmission. It is widely expressed in the hippocampus and facilitates hippocampal plasticity by regulating neurogenesis. It has been also reported that an infusion of NT3 increases the level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA expression in the cerebral cortex and produces BDNF-like effects that induce cortical tyrosine kinase B phosphorylation. BDNF has been consistently implicated in the pathogenesis of depression and the therapeutic mechanism of antidepressants. It has also been implicated in the treatment effect of mood stabilizers such as lithium. NT3 has demonstrated its possible antidepressant effect in a learned helpless animal model. Animal studies have shown that it also modulates the neurotransmitters, serotonin and noradrenaline, which are essential in the development and treatment of depression. Therefore, further studies on the therapeutic implications of NT3 for depression are warranted and are expected for the development of newer, effective antidepressants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1515-1522
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Nov
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Received January 2008. This work was supported by a grant from the Medical Research Center, Korea Science and Engineering Foundation, Republic of Korea (R13-2002-005-04001-0). Address correspondence to Chi-Un Pae, Department of Psychiatry, Kangnam St. Mary’ Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, 505 Banpo-Dong, Seocho-Gu Seoul137–701, Korea. E-mail: or Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, 2218 Elder St, Suite 201, Durham, NC 27704, USA. E-mail address:


  • Depression
  • Neurotropin-3
  • Therapeutic implication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Does neurotropin-3 have a therapeutic implication in major depression?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this