Navigation Links
Why does anxiety target women more? FSU researcher awarded $1.8 million grant to find out
Date:9/1/2010

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
ronald.hartung@med.fsu.edu
850-645-9205
Florida State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Why does anxiety target women more? FSU researcher awarded $1.8 million grant to find out
(Date:6/30/2017)... 2017 Today, American Trucking Associations announced ... face and eye tracking software, became the newest ... "Artificial intelligence and advanced sensing ... a driver,s attentiveness levels while on the road.  ... detect fatigue and prevent potential accidents, which could ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( ... online age and identity verification solutions, announced today they ... Conference 2017, May 15 thru May 17, 2017, in ... and International Trade Center. Identity impacts ... and in today,s quickly evolving digital world, defining identity ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... York , April 19, 2017 ... as its vendor landscape is marked by the presence ... market is however held by five major players - ... Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% of the ... the leading companies in the global military biometrics market ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... The CRISPR-Cas9 ... enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding the use of exogenous expression plasmids. The simplicity ... for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. , This complement to loss-of-function studies, such ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back for its 4th year. ... San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former FDA office bearers, regulators, ... government officials from around the world to address key issues in device compliance, quality ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... , Oct. 11, 2017  VMS BioMarketing, a leading provider ... nationwide oncology Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) network, which will launch ... for communication among health care professionals to enhance the patient ... office staff, and other health care professionals to help women ... cancer. ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing forests and increased ... of over 5.5 million people each year. Especially those living in larger cities are ... - based in one of the most pollution-affected countries globally - decided to take ...
Breaking Biology Technology: