Investigating the antidepressant efficacy of the anesthetic isoflurane
Currently available antidepressants are not sufficiently effective in some of the patients suffering from depression. As a consequence, there is a need to identify new antidepressants and therapies as well as to investigate their mechanisms of action. In the past, the anesthetic isoflurane has been shown to have antidepressant effects. Our research aims to find out through which molecular mechanisms the observed antidepressant effects of isoflurane are mediated.
Based on the published studies in patients, we perform isoflurane narcotherapy in a model organism of depression. To investigate the antidepressant effectiveness, various data are collected before, during and after isoflurane narcotherapy, including behavioral tests, physiological tests and PET measurements. In order to identify molecular changes in the brain that could possibly be related to the antidepressant mode of action of isoflurane, molecular receptor autoradiographies are performed.
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