Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Link between depression and inflammatory response found in mice: New treatments for mood disorders?

Date:
December 21, 2010
Source:
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers may have found a clue to the blues that can come with the flu -- depression may be triggered by the same mechanisms that enable the immune system to respond to infection. In a new study, scientists activated the immune system in mice to produce "despair-like" behavior that has similarities to depression in humans.

Vanderbilt University researchers may have found a clue to the blues that can come with the flu -- depression may be triggered by the same mechanisms that enable the immune system to respond to infection.

Related Articles


In a study in the December issue of Neuropsychopharmacology, Chong-Bin Zhu, M.D., Ph.D., Randy Blakely, Ph.D., William Hewlett, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues activated the immune system in mice to produce "despair-like" behavior that has similarities to depression in humans.

"Many people exhibit signs of lethargy and depressed mood during flu-like illnesses," said Blakely, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Molecular Neuroscience. "Generally these have been treated as just a consequence of being physically ill, but we think there is likely to be something more brain-centric at work here."

Blakely and his colleagues previously reported that inflammatory cytokines can enhance the activity of the serotonin transporter (SERT), which regulates the supply of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the synapse, or gap between nerve cells.

Elevations in SERT activity remove serotonin from brain synapses at an enhanced rate and, based on studies in animal models and man, would be predicted to increase the risk for mood and anxiety disorders. Indeed, a class of antidepressant drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) -- Prozac, Zoloft, etc. -- work by blocking the ability of SERT to eliminate serotonin.

In the current study in mice, the researchers triggered pro-inflammatory cytokine production. Within 30 to 60 minutes, SERT was activated in the brain and the animals displayed despair-like behavior.

Remarkably, this behavior was not observed when cytokine production was triggered in mice lacking the SERT gene. Similarly, a drug that blocks inflammatory molecule signaling also prevented stimulation of SERT and the despair behavior. "It's as if these inflammatory molecules are an 'anti-Prozac,'" Blakely said.

In their paper, the researchers cautioned that "we do not presume that changes in SERT activity alone are sufficient to induce the full spectrum of depression traits, nor that our animal model can reproduce all the elements of a complex neuropsychiatric disorder."

"Nonetheless, we were able to identify a mechanism that may be a engaged, even without inflammation, to impact risk for depressive illness," Blakely said.

More study is needed. Identifying genetic variations in the SERT activation pathway, for example, might suggest additional sources of genetic risk for depression. "Our work suggests that novel therapies targeting inflammation-linked pathways may be of use in the treatment of mood disorders," he said.

Zhu is research associate professor of Pharmacology, Blakely is the Alan D. Bass Professor of Pharmacology and professor of Psychiatry, and Hewlett is associate professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology.

Other contributors were Vanderbilt research assistant Kathryn Lindler, and Lynnette Daws, Ph.D., and Anthony Owens, both at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The study was supported by the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD), and by a Conte Center grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chong-Bin Zhu, Kathryn M Lindler, Anthony W Owens, Lynette C Daws, Randy D Blakely, William A Hewlett. Interleukin-1 Receptor Activation by Systemic Lipopolysaccharide Induces Behavioral Despair Linked to MAPK Regulation of CNS Serotonin Transporters. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2010; 35 (13): 2510 DOI: 10.1038/npp.2010.116

Cite This Page:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "Link between depression and inflammatory response found in mice: New treatments for mood disorders?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101220150946.htm>.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (2010, December 21). Link between depression and inflammatory response found in mice: New treatments for mood disorders?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101220150946.htm
Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "Link between depression and inflammatory response found in mice: New treatments for mood disorders?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101220150946.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. 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