Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers hope monkeys can provide new insights into depression

21.01.2005


The scientists found that depressed female monkeys become socially withdrawn and have reduced body fat, low levels of activity, high heart rates and disruptions in hormone levels – all of which are known or suspected characteristics of major depression in women. Their research is based on female monkeys because women are 66 percent more likely than men to experience depression during their lifetimes.

"We believe these monkeys can be a useful model for learning more about depression in women," said Carol Shively, Ph.D., professor of pathology at Wake Forest Baptist. "Current ways to treat depression are only partially successful. This may be an important opportunity to develop and test new treatments."

She said that with current treatments, there’s often a difference between men and women in effectiveness and side effects. The animal model will allow scientists to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment specifically in females, the population at greatest risk.



The study involved 36 adult female cynomolgus monkeys, who normally live in social groups in the wild. For most of the research, the animals lived in groups of four and their social interactions and behavior were observed. Depressive behavior included a slumped or collapsed body posture accompanied by a lack of response to events or objects in the environment in which other monkeys were interested.

The researchers found that the depressed monkeys had suppressed ovarian function, but continued to have menstrual periods. Irregular ovulation can lead to low estrogen levels, which have been associated in both women and monkeys with increased risk of disease in the arteries leading to the heart. "This suggests the possibility that depressed women may have low ovarian function that goes unnoticed because they still have menstrual periods," said Shively. "If this turns out to be accurate, it could explain, in part, the observed relationship between coronary artery disease and depression."

The researchers said monkeys may be particularly useful for learning more about human depression for several reasons. In women, depression is often associated with changes in reproduction, including the beginning of menstruation (premenstrual syndrome or PMS), pregnancy, the post-partum period and perimenopause. Monkeys have menstrual cycles that are very similar to those of women. "Further studies of monkeys may inform us about the nature of the relationship between reproductive function and mood in females," said Shively.

In addition, depression is higher among people with low levels of education and income. Some female monkeys face social stress that is similar to the stress that humans with low socioeconomic status experience. In some cases, these monkeys were also more prone to depression. "What we’ve observed in these monkeys is the first animal model of social stress-related depression in females," said Shively.

In monkeys, the social stress comes from the social hierarchies they naturally form when they live in groups. Monkeys that are the low-status or "subordinate" animals in the group face more aggression, are more vigilant, spend less time being groomed – a friendly behavior by monkey standards – and spend more time alone. Previous research has shown that they have increased heart rates, more of the stress hormone cortisol and more cardiovascular disease than dominant monkeys.

Depressive disorders affect about 19 million Americans yearly. The lifetime prevalence rate of major depression in women is 21 percent, compared to 12.7 percent for men. Depression in women can have negative effects on children as well as marriage. In addition, women who develop depression before age 18 are less likely to obtain a college or graduate degree, reducing their future earning potential.

Other researchers involved in the project were Thomas Register, Ph.D., David Friedman, Ph.D., Timothy Morgan, Ph.D., Jalonda Thompson and Tasha Lanier, all from Wake Forest Baptist.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Warming ponds could accelerate climate change
21.02.2017 | University of Exeter

nachricht An alternative to opioids? Compound from marine snail is potent pain reliever
21.02.2017 | University of Utah

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>