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Biological link between stress, anxiety and depression identified for the first time
Date:4/11/2010

ng mechanism in the study involves the interaction between corticotropin releasing factor receptor 1 (CRFR1) and specific types of serotonin receptors (5-HTRs). While no one has been able to connect these two receptors on a molecular level, the study reveals that CRFR1 works to increase the number of 5-HTRs on cell surfaces in the brain, which can cause abnormal brain signaling. Since CRFR1 activation leads to anxiety in response to stress, and 5-HTRs lead to depression, the research shows how stress, anxiety and depression pathways connect through distinct processes in the brain. Most importantly, the inhibitor developed by the Ferguson lab blocks 5-HTRs in the pathway to combat anxious behaviour, and potentially depression, in mice.

While major depressive disorder often occurs together with anxiety disorder in patients, the causes for both are strongly linked to stressful experiences. Stressful experiences can also make the symptoms of anxiety and depression more severe. By discovering and then blocking a pathway responsible for the link between stress, anxiety and depression, Ferguson not only provides the first biological evidence for a connection, but he also pioneers the development of a potential drug for more effective treatment.


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Contact: Kathy Wallis
kwallis3@uwo.ca
519-661-2111 x81136
University of Western Ontario
Source:Eurekalert

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