Navigation Links
Depressed? Researchers identify new anti-depressant mechanisms, therapeutic approaches

DALLAS April 22, 2014 Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center are making breakthroughs that could benefit people suffering from depression.

A team of physician-scientists at UT Southwestern has identified a major mechanism by which ghrelin (a hormone with natural anti-depressant properties) works inside the brain. Simultaneously, the researchers identified a potentially powerful new treatment for depression in the form of a neuroprotective drug known as P7C3.

The study, published online in April's issue of Molecular Psychiatry, is notable because although a number of anti-depressant drugs and other treatments are available, an estimated one in 10 adults in the U.S. still report depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"By investigating the way the so-called 'hunger hormone' ghrelin works to limit the extent of depression following long-term exposure to stress, we discovered what could become a brand new class of anti-depressant drugs," said Dr. Jeffrey Zigman, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Psychiatry at UT Southwestern, and co-senior author of the study.

Ghrelin, a hormone produced in the stomach and intestines, has several widely known functions, including the ability to stimulate appetite. The latest research builds on a 2008 study led by Dr. Zigman, in which the team discovered that ghrelin exhibited natural anti-depressant effects that manifest when its levels rise as a result of caloric restriction or prolonged psychological stress.

The current findings identify ghrelin's ability to stimulate adult hippocampal neurogenesis, the formation of new neurons, in animal models. In addition, Dr. Zigman and his colleagues also found that the regenerative process inside the hippocampus a region of the brain that regulates mood, memory, and complex eating behaviors is crucial in limiting the severity of depression following prolonged exposure to stress.

"After identifying the mechanism of ghrelin's anti-depressant actions, we investigated whether increasing this ghrelin effect by directly enhancing hippocampal neurogenesis with the recently reported P7C3 class of neuroprotective compounds would result in even greater anti-depressant behavioral effects," Dr. Zigman said.

The P7C3 compounds were discovered in 2010 by a team of UT Southwestern researchers led by Dr. Steven McKnight, Chair of Biochemistry, Dr. Joseph Ready, Professor of Biochemistry, and Dr. Andrew Pieper, a former UT Southwestern faculty member and co-senior author of the current study. Previous research demonstrated P7C3's promising neuroprotective abilities in instances of Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and traumatic brain injury. Today, researchers hope that it can have a transformative impact on depression treatment too.

"We found that P7C3 exerted a potent anti-depressant effect via its neurogenesis-promoting properties," said Dr. Pieper, who is now Associate Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. "Also exciting, a highly active P7C3 analog was able to quickly enhance neurogenesis to a much greater level than a wide spectrum of currently marketed anti-depressant drugs."

Based on the study's behavioral findings, researchers believe that individuals with depression associated with chronic stress or with altered ghrelin levels or ghrelin resistance, as has been described or theorized for conditions such as obesity and anorexia nervosa, might be particularly responsive to treatment with highly neuroprotective drugs, such as the P7C3 compounds.

Future studies will examine the ability to apply these findings to other forms of depression, including the possibility of developing clinical trials aimed at identifying whether or not P7C3 compounds have anti-depressant effects in people with major depression, as predicted. The three main types of depressive disorders include major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder.


Contact: Remekca Owens
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Related medicine news :

1. Life stressors trigger neurological disorders, researchers find
2. Penn researchers find link between sleep and immune function in fruit flies
3. Penn Medicine researchers uncover hints of a novel mechanism behind general anesthetic action
4. CU researchers discover target for treating dengue fever
5. BUSM researchers find anti-seizure drug may reduce alcohol consumption
6. Researchers identify children with emotional behavior difficulties
7. Researchers identify similarities between HIV/AIDS and opioid addiction epidemics
8. Oxytocin, the love hormone, promotes group lying, according to Ben-Gurion U. researchers
9. Researchers develop device that simulates gastro-intestinal tract
10. UNC researchers show cancer chemotherapy accelerates molecular aging
11. NUS researchers developed worlds first fluorescent sensor to detect date rape drug
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Depressed? Researchers identify new anti-depressant mechanisms, therapeutic approaches
(Date:11/27/2015)... California (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... Avid ... Joplin Ann Arbor Michigan boxing style concert posters. This is one of Joplin's most ... the Canterbury House at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The According to ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... , ... Inevitably when people think Thanksgiving, they also think Holiday sales and ... Friday and Cyber Monday massage chair sales to receive the best pricing ... to find the best massage chair deals, they can see all of the coupons ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... to discuss bioavailability and the need to integrate dose form selection in early ... with OBN, the membership organization supporting and bringing together the UK’s emerging life ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... WorldCare International, Inc., the ... 61st annual Employee Benefits Conference. The Employee Benefits Conference was hosted by the ... Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. The conference was held at the Hawaii Convention Center ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... ... Indosoft Inc., developer and distributor of the world-class Asterisk based contact center software Q-Suite, ... The new Q-Suite 6 platform is based on the latest Java Enterprise standards. By ... piece of software for many key components of the suite. Much of the suite ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 27, 2015 ... --> --> ... emergency response system (PERS) market ... for 5 years with APAC ... expected to see a high ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , Nederland, November 26, 2015 ... Een nieuwe aanpak combineert immunotherapie met ... kanker. ) ...      (Photo: ) ... Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC) ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 26, 2015 ... the addition of the "2016 Future Horizons ... Monitoring (TDM) Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, ... offering. --> ... comprehensive analysis of the Japanese therapeutic drug monitoring ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: