Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New target for developing effective anti-depressants

12.04.2011
For the first time in a human model, scientists have discovered how anti-depressants make new brain cells. This means that researchers can now develop better and more efficient drugs to combat depression.

Previous studies have shown that anti-depressants make new brain cells, however, until now it was not known how they did it. In a study to be published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, show that anti-depressants regulate the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) - a key protein involved in the stress response. Moreover, the study shows that all types of anti-depressant are dependent on the GR to create new cells.

Depression is expected to be the second leading burden of disease world wide by the year 2020. Recent studies have demonstrated that depressed patients show a reduction in a process called 'neurogenesis', that is, a reduction in the development of new brain cells. This reduced neurogenesis may contribute to the debilitating psychological symptoms of depression, such as low mood or impaired memory. With as much as half of all depressed patients failing to improve with currently available treatments, developing new effective anti-depressant treatment still remains a great challenge, which makes it crucial to identify new potential mechanisms to target.

The Laboratory of Stress, Psychiatry and Immunology (SPI-lab) at King's has been looking into the role of the GR in depression for a number of years. In this study, scientists used human hippocampal stem cells, the source of new cells in the human brain, as a new model to investigate 'in a dish' the effects of anti-depressants on brain cells.

Christoph Anacker, PhD student at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's and lead author of the study said: 'For the first time in a clinically relevant model, we were able to show that anti-depressants produce more stem cells and also accelerate their development into adult brain cells. Additionally, we demonstrate for the first time that stress hormones, which are generally very high in depressed patients, show the opposite effect.

'We discovered that a specific protein in the cell, the glucocorticoid receptor, is essential for this to take place. The anti-depressants activate this protein which switches on particular genes that turn immature 'stem' cells into adult 'brain' cells.

'By increasing the number of new-born cells in the adult human brain, anti-depressants counteract the damaging effects of stress hormones and may overcome the brain abnormalities which may cause low mood and impaired memory in depression.'

Anacker concludes: 'Having identified the glucocorticoid receptor as a key player in making new brain cells, we will now be able to use this novel stem cell system to model psychiatric illnesses in the laboratory, test new compounds and develop much more effective, targeted anti-depressant drugs. However, first it is important that future studies investigate all possible effects that the increase of neurogenesis has on behaviour in humans.'

This study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust & Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, and the UK Medical Research Council. The study was jointly led by the senior authors Dr Carmine M. Pariante, at the Laboratory of Stress, Psychiatry and Immunology in the Department of Psychological Medicine, and Dr Sandrine Thuret and Professor Jack Price, at the Centre for the Cellular Basis of Behaviour, all based at Institute of Psychiatry King's College London.

Louise Pratt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.kcl.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>