|dc.description.abstract||(Afrikaans follows English / Afrikaans volg Engels)
Major depression is a severe mood disorder, affecting the lives of more than a hundred million people world-wide, including in Africa. Yet existing effective treatment options, including antidepressant drugs, are insufficient, prompting and leaving many challenges for research.
Major depression is a multi-factorial disorder, affecting multiple systems of the body. Even when focusing only on the central nervous system (brain -as it is primarily a psychiatric disorder by definition), there is a multitude of neurobiological functions that are affected in this disorder. Consequently there are several hypotheses to explain the neurobiological basis of depression and antidepressant action, and many approaches are needed to study this complex disorder and its treatment. This overview focuses on various pre-clinical approaches and techniques in neuropsychopharmacological research, particularly those implemented by the author in his research. It will review recent data on the effects of antidepressants on monoamine receptor Signalling, the implementation of ozone inhalation by rats as a model to investigate the role of oxidative stress in antidepressant action, and on a 'bench-to-behaviour' approach to investigate novel targets for antidepressant action (specifically the role of modulators of cGMP signalling).
Secondly, the overview discusses current needs for capacity building in neuropsychopharmacology on the African continent, and strategies to address these needs. It reviews initiatives and projects with which the author have been involved to promote the sciences on the African continent, referring to international, continental and national role players. While there are several success stories and hope shared, the need to assist Africa to help
and to identify and support leaders in science, is highlighted.
It is concluded that success in science ultimately lies in compassion with your fellowman.
Key words: Depression; antidepressants; neuroplasticity; oxidative stress; ozone; receptor signalling; cGMP; African initiative||en_US