Activating Neurons That Trigger Depression Could Help Treat It, Study Suggests

 – April 19, 2014  –– 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 1 in 10 American adults report having some form of depression. Now, researchers have revealed an unlikely strategy for treating the condition; activating neurons in the brain associated with stress-induced depression may actually trigger natural resilience to it. The research team, led by Allyson Friedman, Postdoctoral Fellow, Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said their research could lead to new targets for "naturally acting antidepressants." Ming-Hu Han, MD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and senior study author, said, "To our surprise, we found that resilient mice, instead of avoiding deleterious changes in the brain, experience further deleterious changes in response to stress, and use them beneficially.” In addition, Eric Nestler, MD, PhD, Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Friedman Brain Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who was not involved in the study, said, β€œIn this elegant study, Drs. Friedman and Han and their colleagues reveal a highly novel mechanism that controls an individual's susceptibility or resilience to chronic social stress.”

-Dr. Eric Nestler, Nash Family Professor & Chair, Neuroscience, Director of the Friedman Brain Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
-Dr. Ming-Hu Han, Assistant Professor, Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
-Allyson Friedman, Postdoctoral Fellow, Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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