Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New brain nerve cells key to stress resilience

31.03.2010
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found new clues that might help explain why some people are more susceptible to stress than others.

In a study of mice, the researchers determined that weeks after experiencing a stressful event, animals that were more susceptible to stress exhibited enhanced neurogenesis – the birth of new nerve cells in the brain.

Specifically, the cells that these animals produced after a stressful event survived longer than new brain cells produced by mice that were more resilient.

In addition, when researchers prevented neurogenesis in both stress-susceptible and resilient mice, the animals previously susceptible to stress became more resilient.

"This work shows that there is a period of time during which it may be possible to alter memories relevant to a social situation by manipulating adult-generated nerve cells in the brain," said Dr. Amelia Eisch, associate professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study, available in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "This could eventually lead to a better understanding of why, in humans, there is an enormous variety of responses to stressful situations."

Mice that are susceptible to stress exhibit long-lasting social avoidance and depressive-like behavior after experiencing a stressful event, such as being placed in a cage with a more aggressive mouse. Resilient mice behave more like unstressed control animals. This animal model is commonly used in studies of stress and depression, as understanding the changes in the brain and behavior of the mice can shed light on stress-induced changes in the human brain and in human behavior.

In the study, the brain cells of both groups of mice responded in similar ways after a stressful event. But weeks later, researchers found that mice displaying social avoidance had more nerve cells in a region of the brain called the hippocampus that survived the stressful event than mice that were more resilient.

The study is the first to link the memory of a social experience with neurogenesis in the hippocampus, Dr. Eisch said. Recently, Dr. Eisch and her team have linked adult neurogenesis with addiction. Previously, neurogenesis was primarily associated with spatial learning and memory.

In this study, Dr. Eisch and her colleagues exposed some mice to social defeat by having the animals live in the same cage as larger, aggressor mice for five minutes a day, and in the same cage but with a barrier in place the rest of the day. Researchers then tested the mice to see if they were susceptible to stress.

The researchers labeled the new cells of susceptible and unsusceptible mice so they could see how the cells divided. Both types of mice produced fewer dividing cells immediately after stress, but in the long run, mice susceptible to stress had more new adult cells than unsusceptible and control mice, who lived in cages with nonaggressor mice.

Dr. Eisch and her colleagues also used radiation to prevent hippocampal neurogenesis in all groups of mice. Mice susceptible to stress stopped producing new nerve cells and didn't display social avoidance in the long term.

Inhibiting social avoidance also had detrimental effects, however.

"Radiation in susceptible mice led to behavior that might be interpreted as harmful, such as approaching a potential aggressor mouse instead of avoiding it. We hypothesize that the survival of new nerve cells may be a compensatory event in the brain to allow the mouse to remember a socially relevant aggressor," Dr. Eisch said. "We are very eager to see if these results carry over to other models of stress in animals and to explore the mechanisms underlying these changes, as these are critical steps to understanding how adult-generated neurons might be modulated to help humans in stressful situations."

Future studies also will help determine which genes are involved with increased survival of new nerve cells in mice susceptible to stress, Dr. Eisch said.

Other UT Southwestern researchers participating in this study were Nathan DeCarolis, student research assistant in psychiatry and Shveta Malhotra, senior research associate in psychiatry. Others involved in the work were lead author Dr. Diane Lagace, former instructor of psychiatry, now at the University of Ottawa, as well as investigators from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, NASA, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/neurosciences to learn more about UT Southwestern's clinical services in neurosciences, including psychiatry.

This news release is available on our World Wide Web home page at http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/home/news/index.html

To automatically receive news releases from UT Southwestern via e-mail, subscribe at www.utsouthwestern.edu/receivenews

LaKisha Ladson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

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...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

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...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

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...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>