Fine-tuning treatments for depression

Oct 18, 2009

New research clarifies how neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine, are regulated - a finding that may help fine-tune therapies for depression.

Current drugs for depression target the regulatory process for neurotransmitters, and while effective in some cases, do not appear to work in other cases.

Recent findings suggest that synucleins, a family of small proteins in the , are key players in the management of neurotransmitters -- specifically, alpha- and gamma-synuclein. Additionally, researchers have found elevated levels of gamma-synuclein in the brains of both depressed animals and humans.

In a study presented at the 39th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Georgetown University Medical Center researchers observed increased depressive-like behavior in mice where gamma-synuclein acts alone to regulate neurotransmitters, confirming earlier studies by this group.

"These findings show the importance of, and clarify a functional role for, gamma synuclein in and may provide new therapeutic targets in treatment of this disease," says Adam Oaks, a student researcher in the Laboratory of Molecular Neurochemistry at GUMC. "Understanding how current therapies work with the synucleins is important because the drugs don't work for all patients, and some are associated with side effects including an increased risk of suicide."

Source: Georgetown University Medical Center (news : web)

Explore further: When attention is a deficit: How the brain switches strategies to find better solutions

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers may have found test for depression

Mar 11, 2008

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have discovered that a change in the location of a protein in the brain could serve as a biomarker for depression, allowing a simple, rapid, laboratory ...

Out-of-whack protein may boost Parkinson's

Feb 26, 2008

A single change in a protein may play a role in whether someone develops Parkinson’s disease, say University of Florida Genetics Institute researchers writing in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of ...

Taste test may identify best drugs for depression

Dec 06, 2006

New research has shown that it might be possible to use taste as an indicator as to whether someone is depressed, and as a way of determining which is the most suitable drug to treat their depression.

Recommended for you

Disrupted biological clock linked to Alzheimer's disease

Mar 27, 2015

New research has identified some of the processes by which molecules associated with neurological diseases can disrupt the biological clock, interfere with sleep and activity patterns, and set the stage for ...

How the brain remembers pain

Mar 27, 2015

Scientists from Berne have discovered a mechanism, which is responsible for the chronification of pain in the brain. The results of their study suggest new strategies for the medical treatment of chronic ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.