Depressive disorders belong to the most frequent diseases worldwide showing a lifetime prevalence of up to 20%. Moreover they are one of the leading causes for the amount of years lived with disability. Increasing knowledge about the pathological mechanisms underlying depressive syndromes is obtained by using modern neurobiological research-techniques. Thereby some older theories that have been the basis of emotion-research for decades - like the monoamine hypothesis - have been strengthened. In addition new aspects of the pathological processes underlying depressive disturbances have been unraveled. In this review established models and recent findings will be discussed, to bridge various research-fields, ranging from genetics, epigenetics and morphological changes to the functional consequences of depression. Finally therapeutic implications that could be derived from these results will be presented, showing up putative possibilities for diagnosis and treatment of depressive syndromes.
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