Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Depression detectable in the blood: Platelet serotonin transporter function

Date:
April 29, 2014
Source:
Medical University of Vienna
Summary:
The possibility of using a blood test to detect depression has been demonstrated by researchers. While blood tests for mental illnesses have until recently been regarded as impossible, a recent study clearly indicates that, in principle, depression can in fact be diagnosed in this way and this could become reality in the not too distant future.

Researchers at the MedUni Vienna have demonstrated the possibility of using a blood test to detect depression.
Credit: © ??? / Fotolia

Researchers at the MedUni Vienna have demonstrated the possibility of using a blood test to detect depression. While blood tests for mental illnesses have until recently been regarded as impossible, a recent study clearly indicates that, in principle, depression can in fact be diagnosed in this way and this could become reality in the not too distant future.

Related Articles


Serotonin transporter (SERT) is a protein in the cell membrane that facilitates the transport of the neurotransmitter serotonin (popularly known as the "happiness hormone") into the cell. In the brain, serotonin transporter regulates neural depression networks. Depressive conditions can frequently be caused by a lack of serotonin. As a result, the serotonin transporter is also the point of action for the major antidepressant drugs.

The serotonin transporter, however, also occurs in large quantities in numerous other organs such as the intestines or blood. Recent studies have shown that the serotonin transporter in the blood works in exactly the same way as in the brain. In the blood, it ensures that blood platelets maintain the appropriate concentration of serotonin in the blood plasma.

Researchers at the MedUni Vienna have now used functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and pharmacological investigations to demonstrate that there is a close relationship between the speed of the serotonin uptake in blood platelets and the function of a depression network in the brain.

This network is termed the "default mode network" because it is primarily active at rest and processes content with strong self-reference. Findings from recent years have also demonstrated that it is actively suppressed during complex thought processes, which is essential for adequate levels of concentration. Interestingly, patients with depression find it difficult to suppress this network during thought processes, leading to negative thoughts and ruminations as well as poor concentration.

"This is the first study that has been able to predict the activity of a major depression network in the brain using a blood test. While blood tests for mental illnesses have until recently been regarded as impossible, this study clearly shows that a blood test is possible in principle for diagnosing depression and could become reality in the not too distant future," explains study leader Lukas Pezawas from the Department of Biological Psychiatry at the University Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy within the MedUni Vienna. This result means that the diagnosis of depression through blood tests could become reality in the not too distant future.

The study was carried out by Christian Scharinger and Ulrich Rabl, under the supervision of Lukas Pezawas at the Department of Biological Psychiatry, University Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the MedUni Vienna, in collaboration with groups from the special research division SFB-35 and other institutions at the MedUni Vienna, as well as international cooperation partners (Technical University of Dresden, Central Institute for Mental Health, Mannheim). Alongside other colleagues from the University Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, the MedUni Vienna's Centre of Excellence for High Field MR, Clinical Institute of Laboratory Medicine and Institute of Pharmacology were also involved in the study.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Christian Scharinger, Ulrich Rabl, Christian H. Kasess, Bernhard M. Meyer, Tina Hofmaier, Kersten Diers, Lucie Bartova, Gerald Pail, Wolfgang Huf, Zeljko Uzelac, Beate Hartinger, Klaudius Kalcher, Thomas Perkmann, Helmuth Haslacher, Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, Siegfried Kasper, Michael Freissmuth, Christian Windischberger, Matthδus Willeit, Rupert Lanzenberger, Harald Esterbauer, Burkhard Brocke, Ewald Moser, Harald H. Sitte, Lukas Pezawas. Platelet Serotonin Transporter Function Predicts Default-Mode Network Activity. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (3): e92543 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092543

Cite This Page:

Medical University of Vienna. "Depression detectable in the blood: Platelet serotonin transporter function." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140429105015.htm>.
Medical University of Vienna. (2014, April 29). Depression detectable in the blood: Platelet serotonin transporter function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140429105015.htm
Medical University of Vienna. "Depression detectable in the blood: Platelet serotonin transporter function." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140429105015.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) — Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
100-Year-Old Woman Sees Ocean for First Time

100-Year-Old Woman Sees Ocean for First Time

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) — Ruby Holt spent most of her 100 years on a farm in rural Tennessee, picking cotton and raising four children. She saw the ocean for the first time thanks to her assisted living center and a group that grants wishes to the elderly. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
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