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 Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>