Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Biological link established between tumors and depression

Animal models may help explain mood changes in cancer patients

In a study that could help explain the connections between depression and cancer, researchers at the University of Chicago have used an animal model to find, for the first time, a biological link between tumors and negative mood changes.

The team determined that substances associated with depression are produced in increased quantities by tumors and are transmitted to the brain.

Additionally, pathways that normally moderate the impact of depression-causing substances are disrupted when a tumor develops.

The research further showed that tumors induce changes in gene expression in the hippocampus, the portion of the brain that regulates emotion. Although researchers have long known that depression is a common outcome for people diagnosed with cancer, they had not known if it was brought on by a patient learning of the diagnosis or the result of treatments such as chemotherapy. Now a third source may have been identified.

"Our research shows that two types of tumor-induced molecules, one secreted by the immune system and another by the stress axis, may be responsible," said Leah Pyter, a postdoctoral fellow and lead author of a paper, "Peripheral Tumors Induce Depressive-like Behaviors and Cytokine Production and Alter Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Andrenal Axis Regulation," which is published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Both of these substances have been implicated in depression, but neither has been examined over time frames and magnitudes that are characteristic of chronic diseases such as cancer," she said.

For their research, the team conducted a series of tests on about 100 rats, some of whom had cancer to determine their behavioral responses in tests of emotional state.

"Rats are commonly used to test drugs that are being studied for potential human benefits, such as treating depression," said Brian Prendergast, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago, and the senior author on the study. "In this case, examining behavioral responses to tumors in non-human animals is particularly useful because the rats have no awareness of the disease, and thus their behavioral changes were likely the result of purely biological factors."

The team used tests commonly used in testing anti-depressants on rats and found that the rats with tumors became less motivated to escape when submitted to a swimming test, a condition that is similar to depression in humans. The rats with tumors also were less eager to drink sugar water, a substance that usually attracts the appetites of healthy rats.

Further tests revealed that the rats with tumors had increased levels of cytokines in their blood and in the hippocampus when compared with healthy rats. Cytokines are produced by the immune system, and an increase in cytokines has been linked to depression.

The team also found that stress hormone production also was altered in rats with tumors. The rats with tumors also had dampened production of the stress hormone corticosterone. The hormone helps regulate the impact of cytokines and reducing its production therefore increases the impact of cytokines.

The project was supported by an American Cancer Society fellowship, an NIH grant and a grant from the Brian Research Foundation.

William Harms | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Don't Give the Slightest Chance to Toxic Elements in Medicinal Products
23.03.2018 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)

nachricht North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>