Monoaminergic neural transplants prevent learned helplessness in a rat depression model

Jacqueline Sagen, Caryl E. Sortwell, George D. Pappas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Current theories of the etiology of depression implicate disturbances and imbalances in the junction of monoaminergic systems, particularly involving serotonin and norepinephrine. Neural transplantation is a potential approach towards restoring balanced functioning in the central nervous system. The purpose of the present study was to determine the utility of transplanting monoamine-producing cells into the brain to alleviate behavioral depression. Serotonin-containing pineal gland tissue, catecholamine-containing adrenal medullary tissue, a combination of both, and a control of striated muscle tissue were implanted into the frontal neocortex of adult rats. The ability of these grafts to prevent the development of learned helplessness, a widely accepted model for depression, was assessed 6-8 weeks following transplantation. The monoamine-containing transplants, but not the control transplants, were able to prevent the development of learned helplessness. Immunocytochemical and ultrastructural studies revealed that the grafted monoaminergic tissues survived and continued to produce high levels of monoamines. These results suggest that neural transplants may provide a long-term local source of monoamines as a potentially new approach for alleviating some forms of depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1037-1048
Number of pages12
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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