Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists find gender-distinct circuit for depression

10.10.2019

Depression affects women nearly twice as much as men, but unraveling the brain's blueprint that regulates this behavior, let alone identifying specific molecular differences between sexes, has proven difficult.

Michigan State University researchers, however, have found and flipped a switch in the brain, revealing a single circuit in mice that activates during stress and is controlled by testosterone.


MSU researchers have found a gender-distinct circuit for depression that activates during stress and is controlled by testosterone.

Credit: MSU

The results, published in Biological Psychiatry, focus on the activity between neurons in the ventral hippocampus, which become active under stress and emotion, and their activation of nucleus accumbens neurons, critical players in reward and motivation.

"What makes these findings stand out is not only identifying this new circuit," said A.J. Robison, MSU physiologist and lead author of the study, "but also observing and confirming how it drives different behaviors in males and females."

Oddly enough, many circuit-specific animal model studies involving depression-related behaviors don't include female subjects. This gap exists despite sex differences in several depression-related brain regions, including the hippocampus, Robison added.

To help close this void, Robison and a team of MSU scientists focused on this hippocampus-accumbens circuit and saw that the activity in male brains during stress was significantly lower than in females, and this required testosterone. When they removed testosterone, however, the male mice began expressing depression-like behaviors.

Conversely, the team observed increased circuit activity in female brains, but when testosterone was introduced, the neurons quieted, and the female mice became resistant to the depression-like behaviors.

"Even with our best antidepressants, such as Prozac, we don't know exactly how they work," Robison said. "This is the first time we've found a circuit that drives this sexually different behavior; other scientists can now explore how this could translate to identifying new therapeutic targets in humans."

Robison's group used chemogenetic tools to manipulate specific circuit activity in the mouse brain in this study. Such tools may inform the development of "genetic medicine" for the treatment of human diseases in the future.

###

Additional MSU scientists who contributed to this research include: Elizabeth Williams, Claire Manning, Andrew Eagle, Ashlyn Swift-Gallant (now at Memorial University of Newfoundland), Natalia Duque-Wilckens, Sadhana Chinnusamy, Adam Moeser, Cynthia Jordan and Gina Leinninger.

This research was funded in part by the National Institutes of Mental Health, the National Institutes of Neurological Disease and Stroke, the National Institutes of Drug Abuse and the Avielle Foundation.

(Note for media: Please include a link to the original paper in online coverage: https://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223(19)31618-X/pdf)

Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

For MSU news on the Web, go to MSUToday. Follow MSU News on Twitter at twitter.com/MSUnews.

Media Contact

Layne Cameron
camer102@msu.edu
517-353-8819

 @MSUnews

http://msutoday.msu.edu/journalists/ 

Layne Cameron | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://go.msu.edu/QFP
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.08.006

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers discover vaccine to strengthen the immune system of plants
24.01.2020 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

nachricht Brain-cell helpers powered by norepinephrine during fear-memory formation
24.01.2020 | RIKEN

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Integrate Micro Chips for electronic Skin

Researchers from Dresden and Osaka present the first fully integrated flexible electronics made of magnetic sensors and organic circuits which opens the path towards the development of electronic skin.

Human skin is a fascinating and multifunctional organ with unique properties originating from its flexible and compliant nature. It allows for interfacing with...

Im Focus: Dresden researchers discover resistance mechanism in aggressive cancer

Protease blocks guardian function against uncontrolled cell division

Researchers of the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital Dresden at the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC), together with an international...

Im Focus: New roles found for Huntington's disease protein

Crucial role in synapse formation could be new avenue toward treatment

A Duke University research team has identified a new function of a gene called huntingtin, a mutation of which underlies the progressive neurodegenerative...

Im Focus: A new look at 'strange metals'

For years, a new synthesis method has been developed at TU Wien (Vienna) to unlock the secrets of "strange metals". Now a breakthrough has been achieved. The results have been published in "Science".

Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down...

Im Focus: Programmable nests for cells

KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers discover vaccine to strengthen the immune system of plants

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Brain-cell helpers powered by norepinephrine during fear-memory formation

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Engineered capillaries model traffic in tiny blood vessels

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>