Depression, antidepressants, and neurogenesis: A critical reappraisal

Nicola D. Hanson, Michael J. Owens, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

210 Scopus citations


The neurogenesis hypothesis of depression posits (1) that neurogenesis in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus is regulated negatively by stressful experiences and positively by treatment with antidepressant drugs and (2) that alterations in the rate of neurogenesis play a fundamental role in the pathology and treatment of major depression. This hypothesis is supported by important experimental observations, but is challenged by equally compelling contradictory reports. This review summarizes the phenomenon of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, the initial and continued evidence leading to the development of the neurogenesis hypothesis of depression, and the recent studies that have disputed and/or qualified those findings, to conclude that it can be affected by stress and antidepressants under certain conditions, but that these effects do not appear in all cases of psychological stress, depression, and antidepressant treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2589-2602
Number of pages14
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • antidepressant
  • dentate gyrus
  • depression
  • neurogenesis
  • neurotrophic factors
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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