Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A gene for depression localized

Date:
January 4, 2012
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Psychiatric disorders can be described on many levels, the most traditional of which are subjective descriptions of the experience of being depressed and the use of rating scales that quantify depressive symptoms. Over the past two decades, research has developed other strategies for describing the biological underpinnings of depression, including volumetric brain measurements using magnetic resonance imaging and the patterns of gene expression in white blood cells.

Psychiatric disorders can be described on many levels, the most traditional of which are subjective descriptions of the experience of being depressed and the use of rating scales that quantify depressive symptoms. Over the past two decades, research has developed other strategies for describing the biological underpinnings of depression, including volumetric brain measurements using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the patterns of gene expression in white blood cells.

During this period, a great deal of research has attempted to characterize the genes that cause depression as reflected in rating scales of mood states, alterations in brain structure and function as measured by MRI, and gene expression patterns in post-mortem brain tissue from people who had depression.

So what would happen if one tried to find the gene or genes that explained the "whole picture" by combining all of the different types of information that one could collect? This is exactly what was attempted by Dr. David Glahn, of Yale University and Hartford Hospital's Institute of Living, and his colleagues.

"They have provided a very exciting strategy for uniting the various types of data that we collect in clinical research in studies attempting to identify risk genes," said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry.

Their work localized a gene, called RNF123, which may play a role in major depression.

They set out with two clear goals: to describe a new method for ranking measures of brain structure and function on their genetic 'importance' for an illness, and then to localize a candidate gene for major depression.

"We were trying to come up with a way that could generally be used to link biological measurements to (psychiatric) disease risk," said Dr. John Blangero, director of the AT&T Genomics Computing Center at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. "And in our first application of this, in relation to major depressive disorder, we've actually come up with something quite exciting."

While RNF123 hasn't previously been linked to depression, it has been shown to affect a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is altered in people with major depression.

"We assume that the biological measures are closer mechanistically to the underlying disease processesin the brain. Yet, ultimately we are interested in the subjective experiences and functional impairment associated with mental illness," added Krystal. "The approach employed in this study may help to make use of all of this information, hopefully increasing our ability to identify genes that cause depression or might be targeted for its treatment."

Glahn said, "We still have more work before we truly believe this is a home-run gene, but we've got a really good candidate. Even that has been tough to do in depression."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. David C. Glahn, Joanne E. Curran, Anderson M. Winkler, Melanie A. Carless, Jack W. Kent, Jac C. Charlesworth, Matthew P. Johnson, Harald H.H. Gφring, Shelley A. Cole, Thomas D. Dyer, Eric K. Moses, Rene L. Olvera, Peter Kochunov, Ravi Duggirala, Peter T. Fox, Laura Almasy, John Blangero. High Dimensional Endophenotype Ranking in the Search for Major Depression Risk Genes. Biological Psychiatry, 2012; 71 (1): 6 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.08.022

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "A gene for depression localized." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120104111904.htm>.
Elsevier. (2012, January 4). A gene for depression localized. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120104111904.htm
Elsevier. "A gene for depression localized." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120104111904.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. 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