Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Depression linked to previously unknown dopamine regulator


Finding advances hope for potential new target for antidepressants

Researchers from Harvard Medical School have found a molecule that is unexpectedly involved in dopamine signaling, and in a manner that supports the potential of dopamine as an alternative target for treating depression. The results provide evidence that there is a molecular link between impaired dopamine signaling and depression, which affects 16 percent of the adult population in the United States. The research appears in the July 29 issue of Cell.

Li-Huei Tsai, Harvard Medical School (HMS) professor of pathology, HMS research fellow Sang Ki Park, and colleagues worked with mice and found a novel function for the molecule Par-4 (prostate apoptosis response 4)--as a binding partner for dopamine receptor D2. When mice deficient in Par-4 were subjected to stress, they showed depression-like behaviors, proposing Par-4–as a molecular link between dopamine signaling and depression. Par-4 was previously implicated as a proapoptotic factor in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. These new findings reveal an unexpected role for Par-4 in the dopamine system and present a rare glimpse of molecular mechanisms behind clinical depression.

"Current antidepression therapies are mostly based on the deficiency or imbalance of the serotonin and noradrenaline systems. Our study highlights the importance of the dopamine system, a less appreciated target in the current antidepression therapies," said Tsai, also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

Although the cause of depression is multifaceted, a hypothesis based on deficiency or imbalance of serotonin and/or noradrenaline as the root of depression has been a central topic of research. Drugs that currently treat depression (SSRIs and MAOIs, which acutely modify levels of serotonin or noradrenaline at the synapse) have significant delays before becoming effective, and a large percentage of people are resistant to the current therapies, leaving room for improvement of therapeutic strategies.

The brain’s mood, reward, and motivation circuits are mainly governed by dopamine and have been regarded as potential alternative targets for treating depression. Many of these functions are integrated by the medium spiny neurons of the striatum, which lie below the cortex of the brain and respond to dopamine. Dopamine exerts its function in target cells through five known subtypes of dopamine receptors to regulate motor control, stereotypic behaviors, arousal, mood, motivation, and endocrine function. Impairment in the function of dopamine D2 receptor is implicated in various neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and drug addiction.

Understanding the details of the modulatory events in D2 dopamine receptor–mediated intracellular signaling may provide novel therapeutic targets for treating various associated disorders.

Leah Gourley | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht ‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>