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Circadian clock gene rhythms in brain altered in depression, UC Irvine Health study finds
Date:5/13/2013

n the study, the researchers analyzed genome-wide gene expression patterns in brain samples from 55 individuals with no history of psychiatric or neurological illness and compared them to the expression patterns in samples from 34 severely depressed patients.

The investigators isolated multiple RNA samples from six regions of each brain and arranged the gene expression data around a 24-hour cycle based on time of death. Several hundred genes in each of six brain regions displayed rhythmic patterns of expression over the 24-hour cycle, including many genes essential to the body's circadian machinery.

In the end, they had a near-complete understanding of how gene activity varied throughout the day in the cells of the six brain regions they studied.

"There really was a moment of discovery when we realized that many of the genes that we saw expressed in the normal individuals were well-known circadian rhythm genes and when we saw that the people with depression were not synchronized to the usual solar day in terms of this gene activity," said Jun Li, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan who led the analysis of the massive amount of data generated by the rest of the team.

The researchers add that this information can be used to help find new ways to predict depression, and fine-tune treatment for depressed patients.


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Contact: Tom Vasich
tmvasich@uci.edu
949-824-6455
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

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