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PhD defence: Shokouh Arjmand

The Interplay Between the Estrogen Ensemble and Antidepressants: A Search for Therapeutic Insights

Info about event


Thursday 23 May 2024,  at 14:00 - 16:00


Conference room G206-122, Entrance G, G206, Aarhus University Hospital

On Thursday 23 May at 14.00, Shokouh Arjmand defends her PhD dissertation entitled "The Interplay Between the Estrogen Ensemble and Antidepressants: A Search for Therapeutic Insights". 

Given the premise that changes in hormone levels impact mood, as evidenced in conditions such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder, perinatal depression, postpartum depression, and premenopausal depression, alongside the consistent observation that major depressive disorder disproportionately affects women, with a lifetime prevalence twice as high as that in men, drove us to investigate whether antidepressants might engage with the biological elements of sex steroid receptors, particularly estrogen receptor alpha (ERα), to produce their therapeutic effects.

We scrutinized the hypothesis that antidepressants may alter the activity of ERα. Utilizing various molecular and computational tools, we demonstrated that ERα may mediate the effect of antidepressants. Furthermore, we assessed the possibility of the interaction of antidepressants with membrane ERα and studied the impact of essential heat-shock proteins in the response evoked by treatment with antidepressants.

In an attempt to explore whether estrogen can influence the antidepressant-like behavioral effects of S-ketamine in a selectively-bred genetic animal model of depression, we examined whether such effects could be sex-specific and whether they varied across the estrous cycle in female rats exhibiting depressive-like behaviors and their control counterparts.

This PhD project emphasizes the role of ERα in mood regulation, identifies ERα as a plausible therapeutic target, and raises the possibility that the mechanism of action of antidepressants may, in part, converge on sex steroid receptors. While further studies are warranted, targeting sex steroid receptors could hold promise for the development of novel antidepressant treatments.

The summary is written by the PhD student. 

The defence is public and takes place in conference room G206-122, Entrance G, G206, Aarhus University Hospital. Please see the press release for more information. 


PhD student Shokouh Arjmand
Mail: shokouh@clin.au.dk  
Phone: +4550313719

Read full press release