Nav: Home

Insights into depression could aid development of new treatments

February 26, 2018

Fresh insights into changes in the brain linked to depression could pave the way for new therapies.

The study also sheds light on why a certain category of antidepressant drugs stop working in some people.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh pinpointed a key molecule that may protect the brain from depression.

The team studied mice that were bred to have defects in their ability to activate this molecule, called eIF4E.

These animals showed signs of depression, including reduced levels of the hormone serotonin, which is a hallmark of the condition.

The mice also showed behavioural changes linked to depression, such as disinterest in food.

Treatment with a commonly prescribed antidepressant called fluoxetine failed to produce a response in the mice.

This suggests that activation of eIF4E is required for the beneficial antidepressant effects of fluoxetine, which belongs to a category of medicines called selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Researchers say this could help explain why some patients stop responding to SSRIs.

Previous studies have shown that eIF4E plays a key role in regulating protein synthesis in the brain. Defects in eIF4E have been linked with other neurological conditions, including autism and Fragile X syndrome. This is the first time the molecule has been implicated in depression.

Experts say the latest findings could help develop new medications for depression, which affects about one in four people in the UK each year.
-end-
The research, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, was funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Royal Society, the RS Macdonald Charitable Trust and the Patrick Wild Centre.

Dr Christos Gkogkas, a Chancellor's Fellow in the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences, said: "Our study reveals that altered protein synthesis through eIF4E is a key cellular process in the brain that can go awry in depression. Importantly it may explain why some people with depression become resistant to treatment with SSRIs. This knowledge can help us design a new generation of antidepressants."

University of Edinburgh

Related Depression Articles:

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.
Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.
CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
Post-natal depression in dads linked to depression in their teenage daughters
Fathers as well as mothers can experience post-natal depression -- and it is linked to emotional problems for their teenage daughters, new research has found.
Being overweight likely to cause depression, even without health complications
A largescale genomic analysis has found the strongest evidence yet that being overweight causes depression, even in the absence of other health problems.
Don't let depression keep you from exercising
Exercise may be just as crucial to a depression patient's good health as finding an effective antidepressant.
Having an abortion does not lead to depression
Having an abortion does not increase a woman's risk for depression, according to a new University of Maryland School of Public Health-led study of nearly 400,000 women.
Mother's depression might do the same to her child's IQ
Roughly one in 10 women in the United States will experience depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Teenage depression linked to father's depression
Adolescents whose fathers have depressive symptoms are more likely to experience symptoms of depression themselves, finds a new Lancet Psychiatry study led by UCL researchers.
Anxiety and depression linked to migraines
In a study of 588 patients who attended an outpatient headache clinic, more frequent migraines were experienced by participants with symptoms of anxiety and depression.
More Depression News and Depression Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.