Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Monoamine oxidase A: biomarker for postpartum depression

31.07.2014

Postpartum mood swings correlated with high monoamine oxidase A binding

Many women suffer from baby blues after giving birth. Some even develop full-blown postpartum depression in the weeks that follow. Monoamine oxidase A, an enzyme responsible for the breakdown of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, plays an important role in this condition.


Positron-Emission-Tomography (PET) of a depressive patient without medication (left) with elevated monoamine-oxidase-A-levels (green, yellow, red) and after a six-week-treatment with the monoamine-oxidase-A-inhibitor moclobemid (right).

© Sacher et al., 2011, J Psy Neurosci.

In comparison to healthy women, women who experience postpartum depression present strongly elevated levels of the enzyme in their brains. This was discovered by a Canadian-German research team including Julia Sacher from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig. Their findings could help in the prevention of postpartum depression and in the development of new drugs for its treatment.

For most women, the birth of their baby is one of the most strenuous but also happiest days in their lives. However, joy and happiness are often followed by fatigue and exhaustion. The vast majority of women experience a temporary drop in mood for a few days after birth.

These symptoms of “baby blues” are not an illness; however, in some cases they can represent early signs of an imminent episode of depression: in 13 percent of mothers, the emotional turmoil experienced after childbirth leads to the development of a full-blown postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is harmful not only to the mother, but also to the baby. It is difficult to treat this condition effectively, as its precise neurobiological causes have remained unidentified to date.

The new study shows that postpartum depression is accompanied by strongly elevated monoamine oxidase A in the brain, particularly in the prefrontal cortex and in the anterior cingulate cortex. In women with postpartum depression, the values recorded were 21 percent higher than those of women who were not plagued by negative feelings after giving birth. Women who did not develop full-blown depression but found themselves crying more often than usual due to depressed mood also presented moderately elevated values.

“Therefore, we should promote strategies that help to reduce monoamine oxidase A levels in the brain, and avoid everything that makes these values rise,” explains Sacher. Such factors include heavy smoking, alcohol consumption and chronic stress, for example when the mother feels neglected and abandoned by her partner and family. “My ultimate goal is to provide women and their families with very concrete lifestyle recommendations that will enable them to prevent postpartum depression,” explains the psychiatrist.

A new generation of long-established drugs could also play an important role in the treatment of postpartum depression in future. Up to now, depressed mothers are mainly given drugs that increase the concentration of serotonin in the brain. However, because monoamine oxidase A breaks down not only serotonin but also other monoamines like dopamine and noradrenaline, a treatment that directly targets monoamine oxidase A could have a higher success rate, particularly in very serious cases: this alternative is provided by selective and reversible monoamine-oxidase- A inhibitors.

“The first monoamine oxidase inhibitors often had severe side effects, for example hypertensive crises, which necessitated adherence to a strict diet,” explains Sacher. “However, the new selective and reversible drugs are better tolerated,” she adds. In the next stage of this research involving clinical trials, the scientists intend to test the effectiveness of these reversible monoamine oxidase A inhibitors in the treatment of postpartum depression.

Because the measurement of this enzyme in the brain requires complex technology, it is not suitable for routine testing. Thus, the researchers are also looking for a peripheral marker of this enzyme that can be detected in saliva or blood.

Four years ago, Julia Sacher and her colleagues at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health CAMH in Toronto already succeeded in showing that, in the first week postpartum, the concentration of the enzyme monoamine oxidase A in the brain is on average 40 percent higher than in women who had not recently given birth. “The monoamine oxidase A values behave in the opposite way to oestrogen levels. When oestrogen levels drop acutely after childbirth, the concentration of monoamine oxidase A rises. This drastic change also influences serotonin levels, known as the happiness hormone,” explains Dr. Sacher. In most women, the values quickly return to normal. In others, they remain raised – and thereby promote the development of depression.

Contact 

Original publication

 
Julia Sacher, P. Vivien Rekkas, Alan A. Wilson, Sylvain Houle, Leslie Romano, Jinous Hamidi, Pablo Rusjan, Ian Fan, Donna E. Stewart, Jeffrey H. Meyer
Relationship of Monoamine Oxidase A Distribution Volume to Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Crying
Neuropsychopharmacology, 30 July 2014 (doi: 10.1038/npp.2014.190) 

Dr. Julia Sacher | Max-Planck-Institute
Further information:
http://www.mpg.de/8331073/postpartum-depression_monoamine-oxidase-a

Further reports about: Baby Blues Brain Human Postpartum develop dopamine drugs enzyme levels postpartum depression prefrontal cortex

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

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...

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

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>