Navigation Links
Pitt team finds molecular evidence of brain changes in depressed females
Date:9/16/2011

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 16 Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have discovered molecular-level changes in the brains of women with major depressive disorder that link two hypotheses of the biological mechanisms that lead to the illness. Their results, published online this week in Molecular Psychiatry, also allowed them to recreate the changes in a mouse model that could enhance future research on depression.

Although women are twice as likely as men to develop depression and have more severe and frequent symptoms, very little research has focused on them or been conducted in other female animals, noted senior author Etienne Sibille, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, Pitt School of Medicine.

"It seemed to us that if there were molecular changes in the depressed brain, we might be able to better identify them in samples that come from females," he said. "Indeed, our findings give us a better understanding of the biology of this common and often debilitating psychiatric illness."

The researchers examined post-mortem brain tissue samples of 21 women with depression and 21 similar women without a history of depression. Compared to their counterparts, the depressed women had a pattern of reduced expression of certain genes, including the one for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and of genes that are typically present in particular subtypes of brain cells, or neurons, that express the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA.) These findings were observed in the amygdala, which is a brain region that is involved in sensing and expressing emotion.

In the next part of the project, the researchers tested mice engineered to carry different mutations in the BDNF gene to see its impact on the GABA cells. They found two mutations that led to the same deficit in the GABA subtype and that also mirrored other changes seen in the human depressed brain.

Dr. Sibille noted that researchers have long suspected that low levels of BDNF play a role in the development of depression, and that there also is a hypothesis that reduced GABA function is a key factor.

"Our work ties these two concepts together because we first show that BDNF is indeed low in depression and second that low BDNF can influence specific GABA cells in a way that reproduces the biological profile we have observed in the depressed brain," he said.

The team is continuing to explore the molecular pathway between BDNF and GABA and others that could be important in depression.


'/>"/>

Contact: Anita Srikameswaran
SrikamAV@upmc.edu
412-578-9193
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Duke team finds compounds that prevent nerve damage
2. Study finds genetic variant plays role in cleft lip
3. In a last stronghold for endangered chimpanzees, survey finds drastic decline
4. Brown scientist finds coastal dead zones may benefit some species
5. Study finds high mortality of endangered loggerhead sea turtles in Baja California
6. Yale journal finds nanomaterials may have large environmental footprint
7. UCSB study finds physical strength, fighting ability revealed in human faces
8. NJIT professor finds engineering technique to identify disease-causing genes
9. Grapes may aid a bunch of heart risk factors, animal study finds
10. NC State finds new nanomaterial could be breakthrough for implantable medical devices
11. Pitt research finds that low concentrations of pesticides can become toxic mixture
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/30/2017)... June 30, 2017 Today, American Trucking ... supplier of face and eye tracking software, became ... provider program. "Artificial intelligence and ... to monitor a driver,s attentiveness levels while on ... able to detect fatigue and prevent potential accidents, ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... robotic gym for the rehabilitation and functional motor sense evaluation of lower ... . The first 30 robots will be available from June in ... The technology was developed and patented at the IIT laboratories and has ... to a 10 million euro investment from entrepreneur Sergio Dompè. ... ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... , May 5, 2017 ... just announced a new breakthrough in biometric authentication ... exploits quantum mechanical properties to perform biometric authentication. These ... smart semiconductor material created by Ram Group and ... finance, entertainment, transportation, supply chains and security. Ram ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... , ... At its national board meeting in North Carolina, ARCS® Foundation ... of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall ... 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... , ... October 06, 2017 ... ... experience providing advanced instruments and applications consulting for microscopy and surface analysis, ... in application consulting, Nanoscience Analytical offers a broad range of contract analysis ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... the healthcare and technology sector at their fourth annual Conference where founders, investors, ... inspiring speakers and the ELEVATE pitch competition showcasing early stage digital health and ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... ... October 05, 2017 , ... Understanding the microbiome, the millions of bacteria ... Gut Love: You Are My Future, the newest exhibit on display at the University ... the human condition through the lens of the gut microbiome. , Gut Love ...
Breaking Biology Technology: