Impact of electroconvulsive therapy on the adenosine A1 receptor in the human brain of depressive patients

Major depressive disorder severely influences life quality and is one of the major causes of suicides. Currently, over 320 million people are affected by this disease world-wide. Besides pharmaco- and psychotherapy, sleep deprivation and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) are effective treatments. Both are associated with an enhancement of endogenous adenosine concentrations most likely exerting its effects via the adenosine A1 receptor. In close cooperation with the university hospital Aachen (department of psychiatry) we investigate by means of positron emission tomography (PET) and neuropsychological testing if changes of adenosine A1 receptor density could account for anti-depressive efficacy of electroconvulsive therapy in patients with major depressive disorder.