A study out of Yale University has determined that stress could be more actively involved in causing symptoms of depression that previously thought, as it blocks a gene that helps maintain vital neurological connections in the brain.
In a normal individual who is not suffering from stress, the neuritin gene is allowed to help stimulate synaptic reactions in the brain, which prevents atrophy of the brain's hippocampus. Prior studies have determined that those who suffer from mood disorders, including depression, generally possess hippocampuses whose internal activities have been hampered. This information helped inform the Yale researchers.
"This is based on findings that basically stress and depression have been shown to cause atrophy," Ronald Duman, study author and Yale University psychiatry professor, told Bloomberg. "There's good evidence there's a loss of synaptic connections in depressed rodents and depressed patients. If you don't have the appropriate number of connections in synapses, your brain isn't going to function properly."
Researchers determined that the active presence of neuritin caused a reaction in the brain that was similar to that of an antidepressant, as stress and depression were curtailed. Going forward, researchers may be able to produce synthetic treatments that mimic neuritin as a means of preventing the onset of these mood disorders.
Another possible treatment could involve gene therapy. While researchers were able to show gene therapy treatments enhanced the availability of neuritin and contributed to reduced depression symptoms in animal test subjects, the same treatments are not yet possible in humans because no drug has been proven to stimulate neuritin in their brains. Researchers are optimistic that these treatments can come to light in coming years.
Throughout this time period, diagnostic laboratories will continue to help physicians refine genetic therapy treatments related to depression and other conditions.
This article is brought to you by Slone Partners, a leading laboratory recruitment firm in the emerging sciences of molecular, clinical, and in-vitro diagnostics, anatomic pathology and personalized medicine.
Powered by Facebook Comments
- Two gene variations contribute to PTSD symptoms
- Researchers develop gene therapy treatment for hereditary blood disorders
- Specific gene may hold key to treating form of leukemia
- For youth brain conditions, gene test more accurate than symptom observation
- Gene therapy evolves to include DNA ‘unzipping’ techniques