Repressor element 1 silencing transcription factor /neuron-restrictive silencing factor (REST/NRSF) in social stress and depression

Tomoko Soga, Shingo Nakajima, Maiko Kawaguchi, Ishwar S. Parhar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Extreme stress is closely linked with symptoms of depression. Chronic social stress can cause structural and functional changes in the brain. These changes are associated with dysfunction of neuroprotective signalling that is necessary for cell survival, growth, and maturation. Reduced neuronal numbers and volume of brain regions have been found in depressed patients, which may be caused by decreased cell survival and increased cell death. Elucidating the mechanism underlying the degeneration of the neuroprotective system in social stress-induced depression is important for developing neuroprotective measures. The Repressor Element 1 Silencing Transcription Factor (REST) also known as Neuron-Restrictive Silencing Factor (NRSF) has been reported as a neuroprotective molecule in certain neurological disorders. Decreased expression levels of REST/NRSF in the nucleus can induce death-related gene expression, leading to neuronal death. Under physiological stress conditions, REST/NRSF over expression is known to activate neuronal survival in the brain. Alterations in REST/NRSF expression in the brain has been reported in stressed animal models and in the post-mortem brain of patients with depression. Here, we highlight the neuroprotective function of REST/NRSF and discuss dysregulation of REST/NRSF and neuronal damage during social stress and depression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110053
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2021


  • HPA
  • Mental disorder.
  • Neuronal death.
  • Neuronal survival.
  • Neuroprotection.

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