Chronic electroconvulsive seizure up-regulates β-catenin expression in rat hippocampus: Role in adult neurogenesis

Torsten M. Madsen, Samuel S. Newton, Molly E. Eaton, David S. Russell, Ronald S. Duman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Background: Beta-catenin was discovered as a cytoskeletal protein, constituting a link between the cadherins to the actin cytoskeleton. Aside from this function, β-catenin is a key effector molecule in the Wnt signaling pathway, serving as a downstream transcription factor. Methods: In this study, we examined the influence of electroconvulsive seizures (ECS) on the expression of β-catenin, as well as expression of Wnt-2, in rat hippocampus. Repeated administration of generalized seizures increased levels of β-catenin immunoreactivity in the subgranular zone of the hippocampus. To assess the relationship of β-catenin to cell division in the dentate gyrus of the adult rat hippocampus, colocalization of β-catenin with a marker of cell division was examined. Results: Beta-catenin immunoreactivity was consistently localized in newborn cells in this region, indicating a possible role in cell division and differentiation in adult hippocampus. We also found that ECS treatment significantly increased levels of Wnt-2, one of the ligands that activates β-catenin signaling. Conclusions: These results demonstrate that ECS increases Wnt-β-catenin signaling and suggest that this pathway could mediate in part the neuronal adaptations underlying the therapeutic action of this treatment paradigm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1006-1014
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Antidepressant
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Seizure
  • Wnt signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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