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Medicineworld.org: Key genetic trigger of depression

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Key genetic trigger of depression




Yale University scientists have found a gene that seems to be a key contributor to the onset of depression and is a promising target for a new class of antidepressants, they report Oct. 17 in the journal Nature Medicine
"This could be a primary cause, or at least a major contributing factor, to the signaling abnormalities that lead to depression," said Ronald S. Duman, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Yale and senior author of the study.

Researchers have had a difficult time pinning down the cause of depression, which afflicts almost 16 percent of Americans in any given year and carries an annual economic burden of $100 billion.



Key genetic trigger of depression

Symptoms of depression vary widely among individuals. Most now think that multiple physiological processes are involved in major depressive disorder. That explains why people respond differently to most usually prescribed antidepressants, which work by manipulating the uptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin. However, as a number of as 40 percent of depressed patients do not respond to currently available medications, which take weeks to months to produce a therapeutic response.

Duman's team did whole genome scans on tissue samples from 21 deceased individuals who had been diagnosed with depression and compared gene expression levels to those of 18 individuals who had not been diagnosed with depression. They observed that one gene called MKP-1 was increased more than two hundred percent in the brain tissues of depressed individuals.

This was especially exciting, say the researchers, because the gene inactivates a molecular pathway crucial to the survival and function of neurons and its impairment has been implicated in depression as well as other disorders. Duman's team also observed that when the MKP-1 gene is knocked out in mice, the mice become resilient to stress. When the gene is activated, mice exhibit symptoms that mimic depression.

The finding that a negative regulator of a key neuronal signaling pathway is increased in depression also identifies MKP-1 as a potential target for a novel class of therapeutic agents, especially for therapy resistant depression.


Posted by: JoAnn    Source




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Yale University scientists have found a gene that seems to be a key contributor to the onset of depression and is a promising target for a new class of antidepressants, they report Oct. 17 in the journal Nature Medicine "This could be a primary cause, or at least a major contributing factor, to the signaling abnormalities that lead to depression," said Ronald S. Duman, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Yale and senior author of the study.

Medicineworld.org: Key genetic trigger of depression

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