Does stress elicit depression? Evidence from clinical and preclinical studies

Helle M. Sickmann, Yan Li, Arne Mørk, Connie Sanchez, Maria Gulinello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Exposure to stressful situations may induce or deteriorate an already existing depression. Stress-related depression can be elicited at an adolescent/adult age but evidence also shows that early adverse experiences even at the fetal stage may predispose the offspring for later development of depression. The hypothalamus– pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA-axis) plays a key role in regulating the stress response and dysregulation in the system has been linked to depression both in humans and in animal models. This chapter critically reviews clinical and preclinical findings that may explain how stress can cause depression, including HPA-axis changes and alterations beyond the HPA-axis. As stress does not elicit depression in the majority of the population, this motivated research to focus on understanding the biology underlying resilient versus sensitive subjects. Animal models of depression have contributed to a deeper understanding of these mechanisms. Findings from these models will be presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-159
Number of pages37
JournalCurrent Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Animal models
  • Clinical studies
  • Depression
  • Stress resilience
  • Vulnerability factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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