Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Effects Of Social Isolation Traced To Brain Hormone

Date:
November 15, 2007
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
The anxiety and aggression that result from social isolation have been traced to altered levels of an enzyme that controls production of a brain hormone, according to a mouse study.

The anxiety and aggression that result from social isolation have been traced to altered levels of an enzyme that controls production of a brain hormone.

The study, done in mice by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, is reported in the online addition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"We use this animal model for human stress because social isolation in both animals and humans can be responsible for a range of psychological effects, including anxiety, aggression and memory impairment," said Dr. Erminio Costa, director of the UIC Psychiatric Institute, professor of biochemistry and one of the authors of the study.

Previous studies had suggested that the neural pathways that underlie aggression, anxiety and fear include activation of specific types of neural circuitry that leads into the amygdala, the region of the brain responsible for emotion.

The researchers looked in these types of neurons for changes in the levels of two enzymes that are needed for the production of allopregnanolone, a brain hormone that acts to reduce stress through regulation of GABA, an important neurotransmitter. They found that the level of one of the enzymes, called 5-alpha-reductase type I, was reduced nearly 50 percent in the lonesome mice. Levels of the other enzyme did not change.

The researchers suggest that the decrease of 5-alpha-reductase type I and the consequent reduction in the hormone may impair the function of circuits leading to the amygdala and explain the aggressive behavior, perhaps related to anxiety, in socially isolated mice.

"Humans respond to similar stress in very similar ways," said Dr. Alessandro Guidotti, UIC scientific director and professor of biochemistry in psychiatry. "By identifying the mechanism we may be able to identify drugs that can treat these effects of stress."

UIC researchers Roberto Agis-Balboa, Dr. Graziano Pinna, Fabio Pibiri and Dr. Bashkim Kadriu also contributed to the study. The work was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health. Pibiri was supported in part by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Regione Autonoma della Sardegna, Italy.

UIC ranks among the nation's top 50 universities in federal research funding and is Chicago's largest university with 25,000 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state's major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.

.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "Effects Of Social Isolation Traced To Brain Hormone." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071114121316.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2007, November 15). Effects Of Social Isolation Traced To Brain Hormone. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071114121316.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "Effects Of Social Isolation Traced To Brain Hormone." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071114121316.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins