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.

Related Articles


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, 2015 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, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2015) Each week, millions of Americans take acetaminophen to dull minor aches and pains. Now researchers say it might blunt life&apos;s highs and lows, too. 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