Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Depression associated with sustained brain signals

06.04.2010
A genetic mutation in mice elevates their risk of stress-induced depression

Depression and schizophrenia can be triggered by environmental stimuli and often occur in response to stressful life events. However, some people have a higher predisposition to develop these diseases, which highlights a role for genetics in determining a person's disease risk.

A high number of people with depression have a genetic change that alters a protein that cells use to talk to each other in the brain. Imaging of people with depression also shows that they have greater activity in some areas of their brain. Unfortunately, the techniques that are currently available have not been able to determine why stress induces pathological changes for some people and how their genetics contribute to disease.

A new mouse model may provide some clues about what makes some people more likely to develop depression after experiencing stress. A collaborative group of European researchers created a mouse that carries a genetic change associated with depression in people. "This model has good validity for understanding depression in the human, in particularly in cases of stress-induced depression, which is a fairly widespread phenomenon" says Dr. Alessandro Bartolomucci, the first author of the research published in the journal, Disease Models and Mechanisms (DMM).

The scientists made genetic changes in the transporter that moves a signaling protein, serotonin, out of the communication space between neurons in the brain. The changes they made are reminiscent of the genetic changes found in people who have a high risk of developing depression.

"There is a clear relationship between a short form of the serotonin transporter and a very high vulnerability to develop clinical depression when people are exposed to increasing levels of stressful life events." says Dr. Bartolomucci, "This is one of the first studies performed in mice that only have about 50% of the normal activity of the transporter relative to normal mice, which is exactly the situation that is present in humans with high vulnerability to depression".

Mice with the genetic change were more likely to develop characteristics of depression and social anxiety, which researchers measure by their degree of activity and their response to meeting new mice. The work from this study now allows researchers to link the genetic changes that are present in humans with decreased serotonin turnover in the brain. It suggests that the genetic mutation impedes the removal of signaling protein from communication areas in the brain, which may result in an exaggerated response to stress.

Dr. Bartolomucci points out that many of the chemical changes they measured occurred in the areas of the brain that regulate memory formation, emotional responses to stimuli and social interactions, which might be expected. "What we were surprised by was the magnitude of vulnerability that we observed in mice with the genetic mutation and the selectivity of its effects".

This work is presented in the Research Article entitled 'Increased vulnerability to psychosocial stress in heterozygous serotonin transporter knockout mice', written by Alessandro Bartolomucci, Stefano Parmigiani and Paola Palanza from University of Parma in Italy, Valeria Carola, Tiziana Pascucci, Stefano Puglisi-Allegra, and Simona Cabib from the Univeristy of Rome La Sapienza in Italy and Klaus-Peter Lesch from the Univeristy of Wurzburg in Germany and Cornelius Gross from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Italy. The study is published in Volume 3 issue 7/8 of the research journal, Disease Models & Mechanisms (DMM), http://dmm.biologists.org/, published by The Company of Biologists, a non-profit organisation based in Cambridge, UK.

About Disease Models & Mechanisms:

Disease Models & Mechanisms (DMM) (http://dmm.biologists.org) is a new research journal, launched in 2008, that publishes primary scientific research, as well as review articles, editorials, and research highlights. The journal's mission is to provide a forum for clinicians and scientists to discuss basic science and clinical research related to human disease, disease detection and novel therapies. DMM is published by the Company of Biologists, a non-profit organization based in Cambridge, UK.

The Company also publishes the international biology research journals Development, Journal of Cell Science, and The Journal of Experimental Biology. In addition to financing these journals, the Company provides grants to scientific societies and supports other activities including travelling fellowships for junior scientists, workshops and conferences. The world's poorest nations receive free and unrestricted access to the Company's journals.

Kristy Kain | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vanderbilt.edu
http://dmm.biologists.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>