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Turning off stress
Date:2/8/2011

ered completely from the shock, the engineered mice were still showing the same levels of anxiety the scientists had observed immediately following their exposure to the stress.

Clearly, the urocortin proteins are crucial for returning to normal, but how, exactly, do they do this? To identify the mechanism for the proteins' activity, Chen and his team tested both groups of mice for expression levels of a number of genes known to be involved in the stress response. They found that gene expression levels remained constant during and after stress in the engineered mice, whereas patterns of gene expression in the control mice had changed quite a bit 24 hours after the fact. In other words, without the urocortin system, the "return to normal" program couldn't be activated.

Chen: "Our findings imply that the urocortin system plays a central role in regulating stress responses, and this may have implications for such diseases as anxiety disorders, depression and anorexia. The genetically engineered mice we created could be effective research models for these diseases."


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Contact: Yivsam Azgad
news@weizmann.ac.il
972-893-43856
Weizmann Institute of Science
Source:Eurekalert

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