Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Potential new drug target for depression identified

29.04.2009
Disrupting an acid-sensitive protein in the brain produces antidepressant effects

An acid-sensitive protein in the brain may represent a new target for the treatment of depression, according to animal research in the April 29 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

The study shows that disrupting acid-sensitive ion channel-1a (ASIC1a) produces antidepressant-like effects in mice. The findings may one day benefit people who do not respond to traditional antidepressants or who cannot tolerate their side effects.

"Depression is one of the most devastating and difficult-to-treat disorders known to man," said John F. Cryan, PhD, at University College Cork in Ireland, who was not affiliated with the study. "Despite much research, all antidepressant medications that are currently prescribed work in much the same way and are of limited efficacy in more than a third of all patients. The development of antidepressants that act on other molecular targets in the brain would be a major breakthrough," Cryan said.

Although animal models cannot reproduce all of the symptoms of human depression, several behavioral tests in rodents are sensitive to antidepressant treatment, suggesting that they address important aspects of the disease. For example, chronically stressed mice lose their normal preference for sugary drinks, and mice repeatedly placed in a pool of water tend to give up and float rather than swim in the hopes of escaping.

These mouse behaviors are thought to reflect loss of interest in pleasurable activities and hopelessness or despair. But traditional antidepressants are able to restore the mouse preference for sweet treats and reduce the amount of time that they float rather than swim.

The researchers, led by Matthew Coryell, PhD and senior researcher John Wemmie, MD, PhD, at the University of Iowa, found that mice lacking the ASIC1a gene and normal mice treated with drugs that inhibit ASIC1a showed reduced depression-like behaviors. These mice showed increased sweet taste preference and reduced immobility, consistent with antidepressant treatment.

Mice lacking the ASIC1a gene also failed to show a known biomarker for depression. Chronic stress normally decreases the amount of the BDNF gene in the brain, but mice lacking ASIC1a failed to show this change.

The researchers found that ASIC1a-based treatment works through a different biological pathway than traditional antidepressants, suggesting that it may benefit people who do not respond to traditional therapies.

ASIC1a is located in brain structures associated with mood, including the amygdala, which is critical for so-called negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, and fear. The researchers previously showed reduced amygdala activity in animals that lacked the ASIC1a gene. In the current study, they reversed the antidepressant effect of ASIC1a gene deletion by turning the ASIC1a gene back on only in the amygdala. These findings support the idea that depression could be caused, at least in part, by hyperactivity of the amygdala.

"ASIC1a inhibitors may combat depression by reducing amygdala activity. Because of the importance of the amygdala in negative emotions and fear, we speculate that ASIC1a inhibition increases the brain's resistance to the negative effects of stress, perhaps reducing the likelihood of developing depression," said study author Wemmie.

The research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, and the Department of Veteran Affairs.

The Journal of Neuroscience is published by the Society for Neuroscience, an organization of more than 38,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system. Wemmie can be reached at john-wemmie@uiowa.edu.

Todd Bentsen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sfn.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)

nachricht Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

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: Superconducting vortices quantize ordinary metal

Russian researchers together with their French colleagues discovered that a genuine feature of superconductors -- quantum Abrikosov vortices of supercurrent -- can also exist in an ordinary nonsuperconducting metal put into contact with a superconductor. The observation of these vortices provides direct evidence of induced quantum coherence. The pioneering experimental observation was supported by a first-ever numerical model that describes the induced vortices in finer detail.

These fundamental results, published in the journal Nature Communications, enable a better understanding and description of the processes occurring at the...

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rapid water formation in diffuse interstellar clouds

25.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Using tree-fall patterns to calculate tornado wind speed

25.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Stealth' material hides hot objects from infrared eyes

25.06.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>