Telomerase activation as a possible mechanism of action for psychopharmacological interventions.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Originally studied in relation to aging and cancer research, telomerase is now also investigated in relation to psychiatric disorders and treatments. Based on emerging clinical and preclinical data, we hypothesise that telomerase activation could represent a novel element mediating the mechanism of action of certain psychopharmacological interventions (e.g. antidepressants, lithium and antipsychotics). The modulation of intracellular Wnt/β-catenin or PI3K/Akt signalling pathways, the interaction with BDNF and 5-HT, and the antioxidant properties could represent possible mechanisms by which the different types of psychiatric medications could modulate telomerase activity. The potential of telomerase in promoting cellular survival and/or function in the brain and in the periphery could, in turn, represent a neurobiological substrate through which the enzyme can mediate the therapeutic effect of such interventions.


  • Francesco S Bersani
  • Daniel Lindqvist
  • Synthia H Mellon
  • Brenda W J H Penninx
  • Josine E Verhoeven
  • Dóra Révész
  • Victor I Reus
  • Owen M Wolkowitz
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychiatry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1305-1309
JournalDrug Discovery Today
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch