- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been proposed as a safe and efficient treatment of human clinical depression. Although its antidepressive mechanism of action remained unknown, our previous studies indicate that TMS has a long-lasting effect on neuronal excitability in the hippocampus. We now compare the effects of chronic TMS with those of the antidepressant drugs desipramine and mianserin. The three treatments did not affect basal conduction in the perforant path to the dentate gyrus, but markedly suppressed paired-pulse and frequency-dependent inhibition, resulting from a reduction in local circuit inhibition in the dentate gyrus. Concomitantly, these treatments enhanced the expression of long-term potentiation in the perforant path synapse in the dentate gyrus. Finally, chronic TMS as well as mianserin suppressed the serotonin-dependent, potentiating action of fenfluramine on population spike in the dentate gyrus. Thus, TMS, mianserin, and desipramine are likely to affect the same neuronal populations, which may be relevant to their antidepressant action.