A recent study conducted by researchers from the Institute for Comprehensive Medical Science, Fujita Health University, and published in Neuropsychopharmacology suggests that fluoxetine, more commonly known by its brand name Prozac, stimulates the growth of new br ain cells in the normal adult cortex. The researchers referred to the new brain cells as L1-INP, or "Layer 1 Inhibitory Neuron Progenitor cells." Many of these cells were inhibitory GABAergic interneurons, which was also correlated with a reduction in the number of cells that underwent apoptosis, or cell suicide, following ischemia. It is worth noting, however, that this neuroprotective and neurogenic effect was observed specifically in the cortex of the brain.
The researchers have thus concluded that the antidepressant Prozac exhibits a neuroprotective effect, and that neurogenesis in adults is a helpful way of treating at least some psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. The research comes at an important point in psychiatric history, with the emergence of neurogenesis as an important treatment option for brain disorders, and helps to de-stigmatize the use of antidepressants, especially Prozac, one of the more popular ones, on the grounds that they supposedly harm the brain. The research was headed by Tsuyoshi Miyakawa, Koji Ohira and their colleagues
National Institute for Physiological Sciences. (2013, January 4). Induction of adult cortical neurogenesis by an antidepressant. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130104101423.htm