Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

It’s in the genes: Study opens door to new treatment of the blues

13.02.2006


A Florida State University scientist used a gene transfer technique to block the expression of a gene associated with clinical depression in a new study of mice that could lead to better treatment of human beings with this condition.



Carlos Bolanos, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience, was among a team of researchers that identified the role of a gene called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) in the development of social aversion. Mice treated with a transfer technique to block expression of the BDNF gene in a small area of the mid-brain did not develop the aversion despite repeated encounters with aggressive rodents. The study will be published in the Feb. 10 issue of the journal Science.

"It’s very exciting because we are slowly but surely identifying mechanisms in the brain underlying psychiatric disorders that have a social withdrawal component, such as social phobia, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and that will allow us to find better ways to treat these disorders," Bolanos said. "This study is significant because it gives us an animal model of the disorder and opens up new areas of study."


In the experiment, the researchers subjected mice to daily bouts of social threats and subordination by aggressive rodents and continuous sensory contact with the aggressors for 10 days. Afterward, the defeated mice avoided any social contact by spending most of their time in the corner of their cages opposite other mice, including those that had not been aggressive toward them.

The defeated mice also displayed little interest in sexual interaction and showed decreased preference for palatable sugary drinks over plain water. A month later, the rodents’ interest in sex and sweets had returned, but the social avoidance remained.

The researchers found that long-term use of antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and imipramine (Trofanil), were successful in reversing the social withdrawal in these mice. But the successful use of the gene therapy approach to block the expression of the BDNF gene in a highly localized area of the brain suggests the potential for the development of new drug therapies with fewer side effects.

"We have made great progress in our understanding of how antidepressants work, but despite years of research, our knowledge of the changes that these drugs induce in the brain is rudimentary," Bolanos said. "Though available treatments for depression are generally safe and effective, they are still not ideal. It takes long-term treatment before seeing clinical benefit, and potential side effects are a serious problem. The findings of this study provide exciting new leads and point to potential strategies, such as developing drugs capable of targeting specific proteins in restricted brain areas."

Carlos Bolanos | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fsu.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht MicroRNA helps cancer evade immune system
19.09.2017 | Salk Institute

nachricht Ruby: Jacobs University scientists are collaborating in the development of a new type of chocolate
18.09.2017 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A simple additive to improve film quality

19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>