New animal research has identified factors, such as the stress response and immune system, that may play important roles in depression. Scientists have also found that the regulation of nerve cell signals influences depression in animals, and that new drug combinations may more effectively treat it.
The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2010, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news on brain science and health.
Depression is a common mental disorder that affects more than 121 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Studies show the most effective treatment for moderate or severe depression is a combination of antidepressant medication and psychotherapy. However, 20 to 40 percent of people with depression are not helped by existing therapies, highlighting the need for new treatment targets and approaches.
Today's new findings show that:
An inability to cope with stress may play a role in depression. When placed in stressful situations, zebrafish with a mutation in a receptor important in stress management displayed depression-like behavior, which was reversed when the fish were given Prozac (Herwig Baier, PhD, abstract 884.1, see attached summary).
The immune system may be a factor in depression. When an immune hormone that carries "sickness" signals to the brain was blocked in mice, the animals showed fewer depression symptoms (Simon Sydserff, PhD, abstract 666.24, see attached summary).
Mice that lack a molecule involved in regulating nerve cell signals are more active and resilient to stressful situations, behaving the same way as animals given antidepressant drugs. The discovery offers a new target for controlling brain chemicals involved in mood regulation (James Bibb, PhD, abstract 741.9, see attached summary).
Two antidepressants may be better than one. A new animal study shows that when drugs that alter two mood-regulating brain chemicals are combined, they produce a greater antidepressant response (Marina Picciotto, PhD, abstract 769.9, see attached summary).
Other recent findings discussed show that:
Two brain molecules, p11 and brain-derived neurotrophic factor, are key to making antidepressants work. In time, these results might lead to the development of faster-acting antidepressants with fewer side effects (Jennifer Warner-Schmidt, PhD, see attached speaker's summary).
"Finding treatments for disorders of the nervous system is a social imperative," said press conference moderator Robert Greene, MD, PhD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, an expert in psychiatric disorders. "Basic neuroscience research has formed the basis for significant progress in discovering potentially powerful strategies for new, more effective therapies to combat depression."
This research was supported by national funding agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, as well as private and philanthropic organizations.
Kat Snodgrass | EurekAlert!
Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland
Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy