Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Are Some People More Susceptible To Depression Than Others? Stressed-out Mice Reveal Role Of Epigenetics In Behavior

Date:
December 14, 2008
Source:
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Summary:
Research conducted by a team in Switzerland suggests that a family of genes involved in regulating the expression of other genes in the brain is responsible for helping us deal with external inputs such as stress. Their results, appearing in the journal Neuron, may also give a clue to why some people are more susceptible to anxiety or depression than others.

Research conducted by a team in Switzerland suggests that a family of genes involved in regulating the expression of other genes in the brain is responsible for helping us deal with external inputs such as stress. Their results, appearing in the journal Neuron, may also give a clue to why some people are more susceptible to anxiety or depression than others.

The researchers from EPFL and the National Competence Center "Frontiers in Genetics" studied the role of a family of genes known as KRAB-ZFP, which acts like a group of genetic censors, selectively silencing the expression of other genes. These repressors make up about 2% of our genetic material, but little is known about how this "epigenetic" silencing process works, what the long-term consequences are, and even which genes are targeted. (Epigenetics refers to a change in gene expression that is caused by something other than a change in the underlying DNA sequence.)

The researchers bred a strain of mice that lacked in the hippocampus, a part of the forebrain involved in short-term memory and inhibition, a key cofactor used by the KRAB family. The genetically altered mice appeared completely normal until they were placed in a stressful situation. Then they became extremely anxious. Although the normal mice quickly adapted, the altered mice never managed to overcome their stress, and remained anxious and unable to complete simple cognitive tasks. The disruption of the KRAB-mediated regulatory process thus altered the mice's normal behavioral response to stress.

"The KRAB regulators appeared fairly recently on an evolutionary scale," notes EPFL professor Didier Trono, lead author on the study, " and it's very likely that there is a fair degree of polymorphism between individuals. We postulate that variability in these genes is one factor that may participate in predisposing people to anxiety syndromes or depression. "

Because epigenetic alterations are often long-lasting and sometimes permanent, one could also interpret them as a way in which an individual's personal history can have a lasting impact on his or her genetic expression. "It's a way for a cell to have a sort of memory," explains Trono.

This work opens promising leads for further exploration, because evidence of epigenetic modification has been observed in animal models of depression, addiction, schizophrenia and neuro-developmental disorders. Some psychoactive drugs like cocaine or anti-psychotics also cause changes in some of the co-factors involved in this genetic regulatory system. With an understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in epigenetic modulation, it might be possible to develop targeted therapies for those individuals in whom it malfunctions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Johan Jakobsson, Maria Isabel Cordero, Reto Bisaz, Anna C. Groner, Volker Busskamp, Jean-Charles Bensadoun, Florence Cammas, Regine Losson, Isabelle M. Mansuy, Carmen Sandi, and Didier Trono. KAP1-mediated Epigenetic Repression in the Forebrain Modulates Behavioral Vulnerability to Stress. Neuron, December 11, 2008

Cite This Page:

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "Why Are Some People More Susceptible To Depression Than Others? Stressed-out Mice Reveal Role Of Epigenetics In Behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081211121823.htm>.
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. (2008, December 14). Why Are Some People More Susceptible To Depression Than Others? Stressed-out Mice Reveal Role Of Epigenetics In Behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081211121823.htm
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "Why Are Some People More Susceptible To Depression Than Others? Stressed-out Mice Reveal Role Of Epigenetics In Behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081211121823.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) — Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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