Research groups
Research Group for Mood Disorders
Balázs Gaszner (associate professor) E-mail:
Tel.: +36 (72) 536-000 (ext: 35514)
Research interest

The most common reason for chronic disability is major depression. The currently available pharmacotherapautical approach targets the central monoaminergic systems. Unfortunately, one third of patients do not respond properly to the pharmacotherapy. Despite decades of stress research we do not have equivocally accepted reliable animal models for depression to solve these intriguing challenges.
The Research group for mood disorders performs behavioral and functional morphological experiments to develop reliable models for major depression in mice and rats.
Members of the group test how the three hit concept for major depression is applicable in rodents. Genetically modified mice carry an inherited risk factor causing depression-like phenotpye. The genetically predisposed animals are exposed to early life stress (i.e. maternal deprivation) and additional chronic stress in adulthood. The (mal)adaptive changes in behavior, physical and endocrinological factor as well as functional morphological changes in the brain including the corticotropin-releasing factor, urocortin1, serotonin and dopamine- containing centers are evaluated.
The group also tests the validity of the match-mismatch hypothesis in rats and attempts to combine this with the three hit concept of depression. Offspring form low, middle and high stress responsive Wistar rats are exposed to maternal deprivation and chronic stress versus controls.
The group also performs experiments to clear the neurobiological background of Parkinson’s disease-associated depression and anxiety. Post mortem human brain and cerebrospinal fluid samples are studied by biochemical and functional morphological tools. Toxic models for Parkinson’s disease are tested in rat models using the same approaches including behavioral tests also including the energetics of stress response. The main focus here is to study the significance of the urocortinergic centrally projecting Edinger-Wespthal nucleus in Parkinson’s disease, but other centers are alo under investigation.

Clinical relevance

animal models for depression and anxiety, Parkinson's disease-associated mood disorders 

open field test
rotarod test
confocal microscope
beta counter
slide scanner
anxeity tests
depression tests
tests for motor coordination
basic histological techniques
in situ hybridization
morphometrical analysis
Representative publications
Neurodegeneration in the centrally-projecting Edinger-Westphal nucleus contributes to the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease in the rat Ujvári B, Pytel B, Márton Z, Bognár M, Kovács LÁ, Farkas J, Gaszner T, Berta G, Kecskés A, Kormos V, Farkas B, Füredi N, Gaszner B.
J Neuroinflammation (19(1):31)
DOI | PubMed
Peptidergic neurons of the Edinger-Westphal nucleus express TRPA1 ion channel that is downregulated both upon chronic variable mild stress in male mice and in humans who died by suicide Kormos V, Kecskés A, Farkas J, Gaszner T, Csernus V, Alomari A, Hegedüs D, Renner É, Palkovits M, Zelena D, Helyes Z, Pintér E, Gaszner B.
J Psychiatry Neurosci (47(3):)
Fluoxetine treatment supports predictive validity of the three hit model of depression in male PACAP heterozygous mice and underpins the impact of early life adversity on therapeutic efficacy Gaszner T, Farkas J, Kun D, Ujvári B, Berta G, Csernus V, Füredi N, Kovács LÁ, Hashimoto H, Reglődi D, Kormos V, Gaszner B.
Front Endocrinol (13:995900)
Leptin coordinates efferent sympathetic outflow to the white adipose tissue through the midbrain centrally-projecting Edinger-Westphal nucleus in male rats Xu L, Füredi N, Lutter C, Geenen B, Pétervári E, Balaskó M, Dénes Á, Kovács KJ, Gaszner B, Kozicz T
Neuropharmacology (205:108898)
Age-Dependent FOSB/ΔFOSB Response to Acute and Chronic Stress in the Extended Amygdala, Hypothalamic Paraventricular, Habenular, Centrally-Projecting Edinger-Westphal, and Dorsal Raphe Nuclei in Male Rats Kovács LÁ, Füredi N, Ujvári B, Golgol A, Gaszner B.
Front Aging Neurosci (14:862098)

NKFIH-FK 124188 Studies on the relationship between parkinsonism-associated mood disorders and the centrally projecting Edinger-Westphal nucleus (2017-2023)

TKP2021-EGA-16 I National Research, Development and Innovation Fund of Hungary TKP2021-EGA " Examination of  functioning and diseases of the brain with miltidisciplinary approach." (2021-2025)