Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists identify genetic risk for major depression

Date:
May 3, 2011
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
A new study reveals a novel gene associated with major depression. The research suggests a previously unrecognized mechanism for major depression and may guide future therapeutic strategies for this debilitating mood disorder.

Depressive patients carrying the risk allele show volume reduction in certain regions of the hippocampus.
Credit: MPI for Psychiatry

A new study reveals a novel gene associated with major depression. The research, published in the April 28 issue of the journal Neuron, suggests a previously unrecognized mechanism for major depression and may guide future therapeutic strategies for this debilitating mood disorder.

Major depression is a psychiatric disorder that is responsible for a substantial loss in work productivity and can even lead to suicide in some individuals. "Current treatments for major depression are indispensible but their clinical efficacy is still unsatisfactory, as reflected by high rates of treatment resistance and side effects," explains study author Dr. Martin A. Kohli from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, Germany. "Identification of mechanisms causing depression is pertinent for discovery of better antidepressants."

While is likely that a combination of genetic and environmental risk factors contribute to major depression, identification of risk-conferring genes has been challenging due to the complexity of the genetics and the considerable environmental factors associated with the disease. Dr. Kohli and colleagues performed a stringent genome-wide association study of patients diagnosed with major depression and matched control subjects with no history of psychiatric illness. They identified SLC6A15, a gene that codes for a neuronal amino acid transporter protein, as a novel susceptibility gene for major depression. The finding was confirmed in an expanded study examining over 15,000 individuals.

The researchers examined the functional relevance of the genetic association between SLC6A15 and major depression. Already nondepressed subjects carrying the risk-conferring genetic variants showed lower expression of SLC6A15 in the hippocampus, a brain region implicated in major depression. Moreover, using human brain imaging, risk variant carriers with a positive life history of major depression showed smaller hippocampi. Finally, in a mouse model, lower hippocampal SLC6A15 expression was linked to the effects of chronic social stress, a proven risk factor for depression.

The authors suggest that reduced SLC6A15 expression might lead to perturbation of neuronal circuits related to susceptibility for major depression. "Our results support the notion that lower SLC6A15 expression, especially in the hippocampus, could increase an individual's stress susceptibility by altering neuronal integrity and excitatory neurotransmission in this key brain region," says senior author Dr. Elisabeth B. Binder. "Because SLC6A15 appears amenable to drug targeting, our results may incite the discovery of a novel class of antidepressant drugs."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Martin A. Kohli, Susanne Lucae, Philipp G. Saemann, Mathias V. Schmidt, Ayse Demirkan, Karin Hek, Darina Czamara, Michael Alexander, Daria Salyakina, Stephan Ripke et al. The Neuronal Transporter Gene SLC6A15 Confers Risk to Major Depression. Neuron, Volume 70, Issue 2, 252-265, 28 April 2011 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.04.005

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Scientists identify genetic risk for major depression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427131816.htm>.
Cell Press. (2011, May 3). Scientists identify genetic risk for major depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427131816.htm
Cell Press. "Scientists identify genetic risk for major depression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427131816.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. 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