Professor Hen's research is aimed at understanding the mechanism of action of medications that are currently used to treat depression and anxiety-related disorders. Although selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants and anxiolytics, their mechanisms of action, and particularly the reason for their delayed (4-6 weeks) onset of therapeutic efficacy, are largely unknown. The general hypothesis his team is studying is that the generation of new neurons from a pool of undifferentiated stem cells located in a part of the brain called the hippocampus, contributes to the delayed onset of action of SSRIs.
Wang JW, David DJ, Monckton JE, Battaglia F, Hen R. Chronic fluoxetine stimulates maturation and synaptic plasticity of adult-born hippocampal granule cells. J Neurosci. 2008 Feb 6;28(6):1374-84.
Sahay A, Hen R. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis in depression. Nat Neurosci. 2007 Sep;10(9):1110-5. Review.
Santarelli L, Saxe M, Gross C, Surget A, Battaglia F, Dulawa S, Weisstaub N, Lee J, Duman R, Arancio O, Belzung C, Hen R. Requirement of hippocampal neurogenesis for the behavioral effects of antidepressants. Science. 2003 Aug 8;301(5634):805-9.