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 Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation
24.05.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Carcinogenic soot particles from GDI engines
24.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>