Navigation Links
Prozac Makes Old Brain Cells Young
Date:4/17/2008

Research may explain antidepressants' effectiveness

THURSDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- The antidepressant Prozac has been shown to restore old brain cells to their more plastic youthful condition in animal experiments, researchers report.

The work not only provides a possible new explanation for the antidepressant activity of the medication but also raises the distant prospect that it could be used to treat other conditions caused by malfunction of brain cells, said study lead author Jose Fernando Maya Vetencourt.

"It suggests potential clinical applications for the drug in different pathologies," said Vetencourt, a researcher in neurobiology at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy. One of them is amblyopia, the "lazy eye" condition in which one eye is weaker than the other, because it was not used enough in early childhood, he said.

It's much too early to say when, whether or how Prozac, whose generic name is fluoxetine, could be used in such treatments, Vetencourt said. It's also too early to say whether other members of the chemical family of antidepressants to which Prozac belongs have the same youth-restoring ability, or whether other antidepressants do the same thing, he said.

"All this needs to be validated in animal models," Vetencourt said. His study colleagues, who included researchers in Finland, have begun to study "the expression of genes which may be correlated to the functional changes," he said.

The findings were published in the April 17 issue of the journal Science.

Amblyopia was listed as a possible target, because the experiments were aimed at the brain cells governing vision. Vetencourt and his colleagues gave regular doses of Prozac to adult rats whose vision had been impaired by lack of exposure to visual images at a critical period in their early development. Tests showed changes in brain protein expression and electrical signaling typical of younger brain cells and recovery of vision by the animals.

Future experiments will try to determine whether the same treatment will have a similar effect on brain cells governing functions other than vision, Vetencourt said.

Prozac is one of the antidepressant drugs listed as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), so called because they block the activity of serotonin, a molecule that transmits signals between brain cells. There are a number of other chemical families of antidepressant drugs, also described by their activity affecting brain chemistry -- MAO inhibitors, for example.

"There have been discussions about the theory that a cause of depression is lack of growth in the brain," said Dr. Julio Licinio, chairman of psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "It used to be thought that no change could occur in the adult brain. New research has shown that there can be new growth in the brain, so the theory is that depression is caused by lack of new growth."

The new study "supports that theory in a very interesting way," Licinio said. "It both shows a potential new treatment for depression and also further supports the idea that antidepressants act because they promote growth in the brain."

And what applies to Prozac probably is true of other SSRIs and of antidepressants in general, he said. "There have been a lot of other papers showing that other antidepressants have the same property of growth in the brain," Licinio said.

More information

You can learn more about antidepressants from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Jose Fernando Maya Vetencourt, Ph.D., researcher, neurobiology, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy; Julio Licinio, M.D., chairman, psychiatry, Unversity of Miami Miller School of Medicine; April 18, 2008, Science


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. New Smart Technology Makes Patient Data Collection Easier, More Efficient
2. WeissComm Partners Makes 10 New Hires as It Wins New Accounts and Grows Existing Business
3. Independence Blue Cross Makes Music for Members Ears
4. A Place for Mom COO Makes Seattles 40 Under 40 List
5. Sesame Street Exhibition Makes Texas Premier at The Health Museum
6. Study makes progress in zoning in on biomarkers for better colon cancer treatment
7. New Online Tool Makes Enrollment in Blue Cross of California Easier
8. 1-800-PACK-RAT Makes a Splash During Annual Walk for Hope
9. Eye on Safety Makes Halloween Less Scary
10. An Industry First: New Cooper Health Company Makes Group Employee Benefits Consulting and Wellness Program Design a Package Deal
11. Michigan State Medical Society Foundation Makes A Difference by Assisting Those in Crisis Shelters
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/17/2017)... , ... February 17, 2017 , ... ... that allow for the electronic prescribing of controlled and non-controlled substances plus the ... percent of pharmacies in the United States now accept electronic prescriptions, according to ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... ... February 17, 2017 , ... Empowering each person's mental ... for each and every seminar, session and class she offers. At the ... tools which help energize creativity, focus mental functions, enhance athletic focus and skill ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... ... February 17, 2017 , ... Access today ... Exhibition in Orlando, Fla., February 19-23. Visitors to the company’s booth (#1778) will ... used electronic patient signatures solution in healthcare . , Since it first ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... Miami, F.L. (PRWEB) , ... February 17, 2017 ... ... geared to clinical operations executives and focusing on all facets of clinical trial ... portfolio management , patient engagement, and more. In addition, attendees stopping by ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... ... ... Like most hospitals across the nation, Onslow Memorial Hospital is looking for ... Reduction Program (HRRP), the return of a patient to the hospital within 30 days ... many providers are struggling to leverage limited resources and technology, Onslow Memorial Hospital has ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/16/2017)... 16, 2017 Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: ... services, today announced that it has been named one ... Fortune. The annual survey designated Quest ... "Health Care: Pharmacy and Other Services" industry to attain ... company to attain the designation. This is the second ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... The global preparative and process chromatography market ... from USD 5.49 billion in 2016, at a CAGR ... type, the preparative and process chromatography market is segmented ... process chromatography segment is expected to account for the ... Growth in this segment can primarily be attributed to ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... Conn. , Feb. 16, 2017 The Lockwood ... the 2017 Best Place to Work in Connecticut ... This is the third year in a row that Lockwood ... this year to earn the number-two spot in 2017. The ... maintaining workplace excellence. The winners were determined through a survey ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: