Washington [US], July 24 (ANI): Although there are therapies for depression, many people occasionally find these treatments useless. Also, women are more likely than men to experience depression, although there is no established reason for this difference. Sometimes this makes treating their illnesses more difficult.
This month, the results of a study were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
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Researchers from the University of California, Davis collaborated with scholars from Princeton University, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Université Laval, Quebec, in an effort to understand how the nucleus accumbens, a particular region of the brain, is affected during depression. . Depression has an impact on the nucleus accumbens, which is crucial for motivation, reaction to pleasurable experiences, and social connections.
Previous studies in the nucleus accumbens revealed that while men with depression had neither of these genes turned on or off, women did. These alterations may have contributed to depressive symptoms or, conversely, being depressed may have altered the brain. The researchers examined mice that had been exposed to unfavorable social interactions, which are more likely to cause depression-related behavior in females than males.
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“Understanding the long-term consequences of stress in the brain is much easier thanks to these high-throughput analyses. Negative social interactions altered the gene expression patterns of female mice in our mouse model, and these patterns resembled those observed in depressed women”. Alexia Williams, a recent UC Davis Ph.D. research graduate who developed and supervised these studies, said the same thing. This discovery allowed me to focus my attention on the relevance of these statistics to women’s health, which is interesting because women are understudied in this field.
According to the study, RGS2 is a significant modulator of depression-related behavior in the nucleus accumbens after comparative transcriptional studies.
The researchers chose one gene, known as RGS2, to modify after discovering similar chemical alterations in the brains of mice and humans. This gene affects the production of a protein that regulates neurotransmitter receptors targeted by Prozac and Zoloft and other antidepressants. According to Brian Trainor, a professor of psychology at UC Davis and lead author of the study, “Less stable versions of the Rgs2 protein are associated with an increased risk of depression in humans, so we were curious to see if increasing Rgs2 in the nucleus accumbens could reduce depression-related behaviors. At UC Davis, he also serves as an affiliate faculty member for the Center for Neuroscience and is the director of the laboratory.
The researchers successfully reversed the effects of stress in these female mice when they experimentally increased the Rgs2 protein in the mice’s nucleus accumbens. They noted that social focus and preferences for preferred foods increased to levels seen in women who did not experience any stress.
“These findings point to a biological mechanism responsible for the common motivational deficit in depressed patients. Reduced Rgs2 function has been linked to symptoms that are difficult to address in people with mental illness,” Williams said.
The researchers suggested that the results of pivotal scientific studies like this one could guide the development of drug therapies to successfully treat people with depression.
Williams stated, “Our goal is that by conducting research like this, which focuses on elucidating the processes underlying particular symptoms of complicated mental illness, we will bring science closer to creating novel treatments for those who need them.” (ANI)
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