Receptors and the mechanism of action of ECT

B. Lerer, R. H. Belmaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Recent theories of affective disorders have emphasized neurotransmitter receptors as mediators of pathogenesis and treatment. Receptor technology has made possible several exciting new findings regarding effects of psychotropic drugs on brain receptors. The present review summarizes the reported effects of ECT on receptors so as to bring into focus questions regarding the mechanism of ECT action that may be answerable with receptor technology. The surprisingly small number of recent reviews on ECT mechanisms have not focused on new developments in the receptor area. This review focuses on studies in which the animal models used have employed repeatedly administered rather than single electroconvulsive shock (ECS) and in which findings are persistent (at least 24 hr after the last shock) and clearly not the result of nonspecific stress, such as subconvulsive shocks or handling procedures. Findings are dealt with in terms of individual neurotransmitter and receptor systems, although the close interconnectons between these systems can hardly be overlooked.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-511
Number of pages15
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1982
Externally publishedYes


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