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Nerve growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and the chronobiology of mood: a new insight into the "neurotrophic hypothesis"

Authors Tirassa P, Quartini A, Iannitelli A

Received 4 June 2015

Accepted for publication 5 August 2015

Published 16 October 2015 Volume 2015:5 Pages 51—64


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Marc Hébert

Paola Tirassa,1 Adele Quartini,2 Angela Iannitelli2–4

1National Research Council (CNR), Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology (IBCN), 2Department of Medical-Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, Faculty of Pharmacy and Medicine – "Sapienza" University of Rome, 3Italian Psychoanalytical Society (SPI), Rome, Italy; 4International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA), London, UK

Abstract: The light information pathways and their relationship with the body rhythms have generated a new insight into the neurobiology and the neurobehavioral sciences, as well as into the clinical approaches to human diseases associated with disruption of circadian cycles. Light-based strategies and/or drugs acting on the circadian rhythms have widely been used in psychiatric patients characterized by mood-related disorders, but the timing and dosage use of the various treatments, although based on international guidelines, are mainly dependent on the psychiatric experiences. Further, many efforts have been made to identify biomarkers able to disclose the circadian-related aspect of diseases, and therefore serve as diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tools in clinic to assess the different mood-related symptoms, including pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, loss of interest or pleasure, appetite, psychomotor changes, and cognitive impairments. Among the endogenous factors suggested to be involved in mood regulation, the neurotrophins, nerve growth factor, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor show anatomical and functional link with the circadian system and mediate some of light-induced effects in brain. In addition, in humans, both nerve growth factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor have showed a daily rhythm, which correlate with the morningness–eveningness dimensions, and are influenced by light, suggesting their potential role as biomarkers for chronotypes and/or chronotherapy. The evidences of the relationship between the diverse mood-related disorders, with a specific focus on depression, and neurotrophins are reviewed and discussed herein in terms of their circadian significance, and potential translation into clinical practice.

Keywords: retinal ganglional cells, mesocorticolimbic circuits, chronotherapy, ocular eye drops administration, neurotrophins

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