The Role of Beta-Adrenergic Receptors in Depression and Resilience

Hongxing Zhang, Mengqiao Cui, Jun Li Cao, Ming Hu Han

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Norepinephrine is a catecholamine neurotransmitter that has been extensively implicated in the neurobiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). An accumulating body of evidence indicates that investigations into the action of norepinephrine at the synaptic/receptor level hold high potential for a better understanding of MDD neuropathology and introduce possibilities for developing novel treatments for depression. In this review article, we discuss recent advances in depression neuropathology and the effects of antidepressant medications based on preclinical and clinical studies related to beta-adrenergic receptor subtypes. We also highlight a beta-3 adrenergic receptor-involved mechanism that promotes stress resilience, through which antidepressant efficacy is achieved in both rodent models for depression and patients with major depression—an alternative therapeutic strategy that is conceptually different from the typical therapeutic approach in which treatment efficacy is achieved by reversing pathological alterations rather than by enhancing a good mechanism such as natural resilience. Altogether, in this review, we systematically describe the role of beta-adrenergic receptors in depression and stress resilience and provide a new avenue for developing a conceptually innovative treatment for depression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2378
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • antidepressant
  • beta-adrenergic receptors
  • major depressive disorder
  • stress resilience


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