Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Depression associated with sustained brain signals: Genetic mutation in mice elevates their risk of stress-induced depression

Date:
April 8, 2010
Source:
The Company of Biologists
Summary:
Genetics may have some role in the predisposition of some people to the effects of stress, as changes in a gene that regulates brain signals are associated with depression. Scientists have now created a mouse with these same genetic changes. These mice show signs characteristic of depression and social anxiety and they provide some insight into the neurological effects that may influence vulnerability to depression in humans.

Depression and schizophrenia can be triggered by environmental stimuli and often occur in response to stressful life events. However, some people have a higher predisposition to develop these diseases, which highlights a role for genetics in determining a person's disease risk.

Related Articles


A high number of people with depression have a genetic change that alters a protein that cells use to talk to each other in the brain. Imaging of people with depression also shows that they have greater activity in some areas of their brain. Unfortunately, the techniques that are currently available have not been able to determine why stress induces pathological changes for some people and how their genetics contribute to disease.

A new mouse model may provide some clues about what makes some people more likely to develop depression after experiencing stress. A collaborative group of European researchers created a mouse that carries a genetic change associated with depression in people. "This model has good validity for understanding depression in the human, in particularly in cases of stress-induced depression, which is a fairly widespread phenomenon" says Dr. Alessandro Bartolomucci, the first author of the research published in the journal, Disease Models and Mechanisms (DMM).

The scientists made genetic changes in the transporter that moves a signaling protein, serotonin, out of the communication space between neurons in the brain. The changes they made are reminiscent of the genetic changes found in people who have a high risk of developing depression.

"There is a clear relationship between a short form of the serotonin transporter and a very high vulnerability to develop clinical depression when people are exposed to increasing levels of stressful life events." says Dr. Bartolomucci, "This is one of the first studies performed in mice that only have about 50% of the normal activity of the transporter relative to normal mice, which is exactly the situation that is present in humans with high vulnerability to depression."

Mice with the genetic change were more likely to develop characteristics of depression and social anxiety, which researchers measure by their degree of activity and their response to meeting new mice. The work from this study now allows researchers to link the genetic changes that are present in humans with decreased serotonin turnover in the brain. It suggests that the genetic mutation impedes the removal of signaling protein from communication areas in the brain, which may result in an exaggerated response to stress.

Dr. Bartolomucci points out that many of the chemical changes they measured occurred in the areas of the brain that regulate memory formation, emotional responses to stimuli and social interactions, which might be expected. "What we were surprised by was the magnitude of vulnerability that we observed in mice with the genetic mutation and the selectivity of its effects."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Company of Biologists. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alessandro Bartolomucci, Valeria Carola, Tiziana Pascucci, Stefano Puglisi-Allegra, Simona Cabib, Klaus-Peter Lesch, Stefano Parmigiani, Paola Palanza, Cornelius Gross. Increased vulnerability to psychosocial stress in heterozygous serotonin transporter knockout mice. Disease Models & Mechanisms, 2010; DOI: 10.1242/dmm.004614

Cite This Page:

The Company of Biologists. "Depression associated with sustained brain signals: Genetic mutation in mice elevates their risk of stress-induced depression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406073639.htm>.
The Company of Biologists. (2010, April 8). Depression associated with sustained brain signals: Genetic mutation in mice elevates their risk of stress-induced depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406073639.htm
The Company of Biologists. "Depression associated with sustained brain signals: Genetic mutation in mice elevates their risk of stress-induced depression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406073639.htm (accessed March 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. 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:

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