Glycosides, Depression and Suicidal Behaviour: The Role of Glycoside-Linked Proteins
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Nowadays depression and suicide are two of the most important worldwide public health problems. Although their specific molecular mechanisms are still largely unknown, glycosides can play a fundamental role in their pathogenesis. These molecules act presumably through the up-regulation of plasticity-related proteins: probably they can have a presynaptic facilitatory effect, through the activation of several intracellular signaling pathways that include molecules like protein kinase A, Rap-1, cAMP, cADPR and G proteins. These proteins take part in a myriad of brain functions such as cell survival and synaptic plasticity. In depressed suicide victims, it has been found that their activity is strongly decreased, primarily in hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. These studies suggest that glycosides can regulate neuroprotection through Rap-1 and other molecules, and may play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of depression and suicide.