Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pular antidepressants boost brain growth, Hopkins scientists report

21.12.2005


Discovery in rodents may explain why some antidepressants require weeks of use before they work



The beneficial effects of a widely used class of antidepressants might be the result of increased nerve-fiber growth in key parts of the brain, according to a Johns Hopkins study being published in the January 2006 issue of the Journal of Neurochemistry.

The study on rats, led by Vassilis E. Koliatsos, M.D., a neuropathologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, found that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase the density of nerve-impulse-carrying axons in the frontal and parietal lobes of the neocortex and part of the limbic brain which control the sense of smell, emotions, motivation, and organs that work reflexively such as the heart, intestines and stomach. "It appears that SSRI antidepressants rewire areas of the brain that are important for thinking and feeling, as well as operating the autonomic nervous system," said Koliatsos.


Axons are long, filament-shaped extensions of neurons that, together with myelin, are the main constituents of nerves. Axons conduct chemically driven nerve impulses away from the cell body toward a narrow gap known as a synapse. Among the chemicals involved are such monoamines as norepinephrine and serotonin, which, at the synapse, are transferred to another neuron.

Antidepressants, such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil, have long been thought to exert their clinical effects by increasing synaptic concentrations of serotonin and norepinephrine, enhancing or stimulating their transference.

"But our findings -- that serotonin reuptake modulators increase the density of nerve synapses, especially in the front part of the brain - may offer a better explanation of why antidepressants are effective and why they take time to work," according to Koliatsos.

For example, antidepressants increase synaptic monoamines within hours, and the regulatory effects on receptors are complete within a few days, yet clinically meaningful results from antidepressants usually require a two- to four-week delay.

"This disparity between simple pharmacological effects and clinical experience might be due to the time it takes for serotonin axons to grow," Koliatsos said.

"For the patient, this hypothesis provides more tangible evidence of a real effect in the brain," he added.

In the Hopkins study, Koliatsos and his team gave either the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine (Prozac), the selective serotonin reuptake enhancer tianeptine (a drug approved only for human use in France) or the selective norepineprine reuptake inhibitor desipramine, a so-called tricyclic antidepressant, to groups of rats for four weeks and studied anatomical patterns of serotonin stimulation on various parts of the brain. The results showed that fluoxetine and tianeptine, but not desipramine, increased the density of serotonin axons in the frontal and parietal neocortex and certain limbic cortical and subcortical areas.

One possible explanation for this action is the brain-derived growth factor (BDNF). BDNF is regulated by levels of serotonin and is known to be a prime candidate for causing serotonin axon growth, Koliatsos said.

In general, the relationships between brain serotonin concentrations and BDNF expression are very complex, but previous studies have suggested that both higher (such as caused by serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and lower (such as effected by tianeptine) concentrations of free serotonin might induce BDNF expression in such brain regions as the frontal and parietal cortex.

The researchers caution that since a previous study failed to show a correlation between tianeptine treatment and BDNF levels, further investigation of the complex regulations of BDNF by antidepressants is needed.

Eric Vohr | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhmi.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

nachricht Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

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: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>