Abstract and Keywords
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a prevalent and costly disorder with a broad range of cognitive, affective, and behavioral symptoms. Despite the absence of a clear final common molecular pathway in depression, many molecular systems have been implicated in MDD. In particular, disruptions in molecular systems like serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, and other neurotransmitters, as well as in stress hormones, cytokines, neurotrophins, and neuropeptides, may contribute to MDD. To link the symptoms of MDD with molecular dysfunction, this article examines these molecules in the context of three symptom clusters of MDD: cognitive/affective symptoms, volitional/behavioral symptoms, and homeostatic/vegetative symptoms. It examines how these molecules and their receptor, transport, and regulatory systems contribute to MDD and to the development of specific symptom clusters. It presents two possible frameworks of molecular dysfunction in MDD that encompass the interactions between vulnerability phenotypes and biochemical perturbations that may lead to the heterogeneous symptoms of this disorder.
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