Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Mouse Study Suggests Anxiety Disorders Take Root in Infancy


The absence of a key signaling protein in the brain during infancy could lead to anxiety disorders later in life, scientists say. According to findings published today in the journal Nature, mice lacking the receptor protein for the chemical messenger serotonin just after birth exhibit abnormal anxiety as adults.

Researchers have known for some time that mice genetically engineered to lack the receptor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter, show anxiety-like behavior. But the new results go one step further, revealing when in life and where in the brain the link between serotonin receptors and anxiety behavior is forged. As in earlier studies, the investigators, led by René Hen of Columbia University, first created a line of so-called knockout mice that lacked the gene encoding the receptor protein. Those mice showed the expected signs of anxiety, such as moving around less open spaces and taking longer to start eating in new environments as compared with normal animals. To determine which of the two receptor populations--the one in the forebrain or the one in the brainstem--is most critical in that regard, the team then crossed the knockout mice with a line engineered to activate receptor expression in particular brain regions. The resulting line of double-transgenic "rescue" animals expressed the serotonin receptors only in the forebrain, but exhibited normal anxiety behavior. Further tests, in which the drug doxycycline was used to suppress the receptors in mice at various stages of development, showed that eliminating the receptors in juvenile or adult mice did not elicit over-anxiousness.

"Forebrain serotonin receptors are needed during the development of newborns to modulate the predisposition to anxiety-like behavior, but are no longer critical during adult life," Solomon Snyder of Johns Hopkins University explains in a commentary accompanying the report. He proposes that variations in serotonin-sensitive neurons and serotonin receptors early in life might account for the importance of maternal nurturing in preventing emotional disorders later in life. Rats that were not groomed sufficiently as pups by their mothers display elevated levels of anxiety as adults, he notes. "Assuming that we can equate developmental stages in mice and humans," Snyder reflects, "these findings might be relevant to brain development and the genesis of anxiety in people too."

Kate Wong | Scientific American

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

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...

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

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>