Fibroblast growth factor-2: an endogenous antidepressant and anxiolytic molecule?

Turner CA, Watson SJ, Akil H
Biol Psychiatry. 2012; 72(4):254-5.


Anxiety disorders and clinical depression are the two most common psychiatric disorders. The lifetime risk for a major depressive episode is 17.1%, and the lifetime risk for any anxiety disorder is 24.9% (). Moreover, these two disorders are comorbid at a much greater rate than expected by chance. Patients with both major depressive disorder (MDD) and any anxiety disorder have more severe depressive symptoms than those with pure depression. They also follow a more protracted course and are less responsive to treatment. This comorbidity suggests that a common biologic substrate mediates these two classes of stress-related disorders. In this commentary, we summarize the previous as well as the most recent evidence () for the hypothesis that fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2) is a key molecular regulator of anxiety and depression and that it may be critical in understanding their comorbidity and addressing the associated treatment resistance.