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Type A monoamine oxidase and serotonin are coordinately involved in depressive disorders: from neurotransmitter imbalance to impaired neurogenesis

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Type A monoamine oxidase (MAOA) catabolizes monoamine transmitters, serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, and plays a major role in the onset, progression and therapy of neuropsychiatric disorders. In depressive disorders, increase in MAOA expression and decrease in brain levels of serotonin and norepinephrine are proposed as the major pathogenic factors. The functional polymorphism of MAOA gene and genes in serotonin signal pathway are associated with depression. This review presents recent advance in studies on the role of MAOA in major depressive disorder and related emotional disorders. MAOA and serotonin regulate the prenatal development and postnatal maintenance of brain architecture and neurocircuit, as shown by MAOA-deficient humans and MAO knockout animal models. Impaired neurogenesis in the mature hippocampus has been proposed as “adult neurogenesis” hypothesis of depression. MAOA modulates the sensitivity to stress in the stages of brain development and maturation, and the interaction of gene–environmental factors in the early stage regulates the onset of depressive behaviors in adulthood. Vice versa environmental factors affect MAOAexpression by epigenetic regulation. MAO inhibitors not only restore compromised neurotransmitters, but also protect neurons from cell death in depression through induction of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 and prosurvival neurotrophic factors, especially brain-derived neurotrophic factor, the deficiency of which is detected in depression. This review discusses novel role of MAOA and serotonin in the pathogenesis and therapy of depressive disorders.

Naoi, M., Maruyama, W., & Shamoto-Nagai, M. (2017). Type A monoamine oxidase and serotonin are coordinately involved in depressive disorders: from neurotransmitter imbalance to impaired neurogenesis. Journal of Neural Transmission, 1-14. 10.1007/s0070
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