Navigation Links
Penn study: Shutting off neurons helps bullied mice overcome symptoms of depression
Date:8/29/2013

PHILADELPHIA A new drug target to treat depression and other mood disorders may lie in a group of GABA neurons (gamma-aminobutyric acid the neurotransmitters which inhibit other cells) shown to contribute to symptoms like social withdrawal and increased anxiety, Penn Medicine researchers report in a new study in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Experts know that people suffering from depression and other mood disorders often react to rejection or bullying by withdrawing themselves socially more than the average person who takes it in strides, yet the biological processes behind these responses have remained unclear.

Now, a preclinical study, from the lab of Olivier Berton, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of Psychiatry, in collaboration with Sheryl Beck, PhD, a professor in the department of Anesthesiology at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, found that bullying and other social stresses triggered symptoms of depression in mice by activating GABA neurons, in a never-before-seen direct relationship between social stimuli and this neural circuitry. Activation of those neurons, they found, directly inhibited levels of serotonin, long known to play a vital role in behavioral responseswithout it, a depressed person is more likely to socially withdrawal.

Conversely, when the researchers successfully put the brake on the GABA neurons, mice became more resilient to bullying and didn't avoid once -perceived threats.

"This is the first time that GABA neuron activityfound deep in the brainstemhas been shown to play a key role in the cognitive processes associated with social approach or avoidance behavior in mammals," said Dr. Berton. "The results help us to understand why current antidepressants may not work for everyone and how to make them work betterby targeting GABA neurons that put the brake on serotonin cells."

Less serotonin elicits socially defensive responses such as avoidance or submission, where enhancementthe main goal of antidepressantsinduces a positive shift in the perception of socio-affective stimuli, promoting affiliation and dominance. However, current antidepressants targeting serotonin, like SSRIs, are only effective in about 50 percent of patients.

These new findings point to GABA neurons as a new, neural drug target that could help treat the other patients who don't respond to today's treatment.

For the study, "avoidant" mice were exposed to brief bouts of aggression from trained "bully" mice. By comparing gene expression in the brains of resilient and avoidant mice, Berton and colleagues discovered that bullying in avoidant mice puts GABA neurons in a state where they become more excitable and the mice exhibit signs of social defeat. Resilient mice, however, had no change in neuron levels and behavior.

To better understand the link between GABA and the development of stress resilience, Berton, Beck, and colleagues also devised an optogenetics-based approach to directly manipulate levels: Lifting GABA inhibition of serotonin neurons reduced social and anxiety symptoms in mice exposed to bullies and also fully prevented neurobiological changes due to stress.

"Our paper provides a novel cellular understanding of how social defensiveness and social withdrawal develop in mice and gives us a stepping stone to better understand the basis of similar social symptoms in humans," said Berton. "This has important implications for the understanding and treatment of mood disorders."


'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Graff
stephen.graff@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5653
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. BYU study: Using a gun in bear encounters doesnt make you safer
2. 15-year study: When it comes to creating wetlands, Mother Nature is in charge
3. Study: Exercise can lead to female orgasm, sexual pleasure
4. U of I study: Lose body weight before gaining baby weight
5. Study: Men who do load-bearing exercise in early 20s may be shielded from osteoporosis
6. USF study: Common fungicide wreaks havoc on freshwater ecosystems
7. Army study: DNA vaccine and duck eggs protect against hantavirus disease
8. Study: In-patient, out-patient stroke rehab might benefit from yoga
9. Study: Seeking Arctic methane has serious implications for Florida coastline
10. Study: Seeping Arctic methane has serious implications for Florida coastline
11. Study: No-fat, low-fat dressings dont get most nutrients out of salads
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/22/2016)... 2016 According to ... for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, Pressure, ... & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & Wearable ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market for ... USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at a ...
(Date:3/18/2016)... March 18, 2016 --> ... Biometrics, ICT, Manned & Unmanned Vehicles, Physical infrastructure and Perimeter ... companies in the border security market and the continuing migration ... Europe has led visiongain to publish ... success. --> defence & security companies in ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... JERUSALEM , March 15, 2016 ... Jerusalem , the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University, ... developer of remote sensing technology of various human biological ... funding, raising $2.0 million from private investors. ... technology, based on the detection of electromagnetic emissions from ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/26/2016)... LOS ANGELES, Calif. (PRWEB) , ... April 27, ... ... Los Angeles office of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP as an associate in ... and prosecuting U.S. and international electrical, mechanical and electromechanical patent applications. He has ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Heidelberg Instruments, a leader in design, development ... Volume Pattern Generator (VPG) line of lithography systems. The breakthrough VPG+ system is ... a solution for mid volume direct write lithography applications. It utilizes the ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... BioFactura, Inc ., a biopharmaceutical research and manufacturing ... Healthy investor interest drove significant oversubscription of the original $1.5M target. The funds ... the advanced preclinical stages. , Chief Executive Officer and President, Darryl Sampey ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... ... uBiome, the leading microbial genomics company, welcomes Neil Grimmer, Co-founder and Chairman ... co-founding Plum in 2007, Neil Grimmer was Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at ... of ideas, products, and brands, Grimmer has been at the forefront of launching more ...
Breaking Biology Technology: