Navigation Links
Why does anxiety target women more? FSU researcher awarded $1.8 million grant to find out

Anxiety disorders afflict women twice as often as men, but estrogen might not be the reason. Testosterone, though, could be.

That is one of the preliminary findings in the lab of Florida State University researcher Mohamed Kabbaj, associate professor in the College of Medicine. He recently was awarded a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to investigate the sex differences in anxiety. His research team also is working to identify the role of a gene called zif268.

"It's a very important molecule," Kabbaj said. "So far, zif268 plays a major role in learning, memory and drug addiction. I think our work shows for the first time that it's also implicated in anxiety."

Years from now, the result may be drugs that can reduce anxiety more effectively.

In their lab, Kabbaj and his team exposed male and female rats to situations that provoked anxiety. They knew stress would activate the zif268 gene, so they explored the brains of the rats to see how the gene had expressed itself. Kabbaj called it "a fishing expedition."

The results surprised them. Only one part of the brain showed a difference in gene expression between males and females: the medial prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that allows humans to experience emotions and the meaning of things.

"We were not expecting to see that," Kabbaj said, "so we wanted to follow up with functional studies to see if this difference between males and females has any significance in terms of anxiety and difference in social interaction."

Males have more zif268 in their prefrontal cortex than females do. Males also are less anxious. So the researchers reduced the expression of zif268 in the prefrontal cortex of the males. Result: The males became as anxious as the females.

"One of the questions you have to ask," Kabbaj said, "is why males have more zif than females. We think it's because of testosterone. Testosterone is keeping that level of zif very high.

"Our recent findings show that the hormone estrogen is not implicated in sex differences in anxiety. However, our preliminary data show the male hormone testosterone may be protecting male rats from developing anxiety. The fact that females do not have a lot of testosterone may put them at risk of developing anxiety disorders."

Kabbaj and his team think testosterone activates receptors in the prefrontal cortex, which in turn activate various molecules, and those molecules lead to the increased expression of zif, which then activates a series of other molecules. Their project also involves determining the exact molecular targets of zif268 that are relevant to sex differences in anxiety. They refer to these as the gene's downstream targets.

"If we could demonstrate the role of zif in anxiety, then we could design drugs that affect either its upstream or downstream targets to hopefully reduce anxiety in women," Kabbaj said. "If we increase zif expression in men that have some level of depression or anxiety, maybe we can help them, too."


Contact: Ron Hartung
Florida State University

Related biology news :

1. Biological link between stress, anxiety and depression identified for the first time
2. Mental health providers should prescribe exercise more often for depression, anxiety
3. Depression and anxiety disorders of adolescents are not the same thing
4. The genetics of fear: Study suggests specific genetic variations contribute to anxiety disorders
5. Research targets basic metabolism of disease-causing fungi, bacteria
6. New mechanisms of tumor resistance to targeted therapy in lung cancer are discovered
7. Scientists reveal new targets for anti-angiogenesis drugs
8. A cellular housekeeper, and potential target of obesity drugs, caught in action
9. Scientists target possible cause of 1 form of bowel disease
10. Novel bee venom derivative forms a nanoparticle smart bomb to target cancer cells
11. Cancer-causing bacterium targets tumor-suppressor protein
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Why does anxiety target women more? FSU researcher awarded $1.8 million grant to find out
(Date:6/15/2016)... ALBANY, New York , June 15, 2016 ... published a new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market ... Trends and Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the ... at USD 11.60 billion in 2015 and is ... and reach USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... LONDON , June 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Transport Management) von Nepal ... ,Angebot und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich ... weltweit führend in der Produktion und Implementierung ... an der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... Favorable Government Initiatives Coupled With ... Identification to Boost Global Biometrics System Market Through 2021  ... report, " Global Biometrics Market By Type, By ... 2011 - 2021", the global biometrics market is projected ... of growing security concerns across various end use sectors ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to ... faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., ... Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field ... DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 Published ... the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D ... cost of cancer care is placing an increasing ... of expensive biologic therapies. With the patents on ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, a division of Morris ... optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The International Manufacturing Technology Show, ... several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining dynamics and distribution, Velocity ...
Breaking Biology Technology: