Neurological protein may hold the key to new treatments for depressionhttp://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101129111731.htm[01.12.2010 13:05:13]
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ScienceDaily (Nov. 30, 2010)
— Neuroscientists atthe Centre for Addiction and Mental Health(CAMH) have developed a protein peptide that maybe a novel type of highly targeted treatment fordepression with a low side-effect profile.Depression affects one in ten Canadians at sometime in their lives and is a leading cause ofdisability worldwide.
The study published in this month's
found that couplingbetween two dopamine receptorswas significantly elevated in thebrains of people who had beendiagnosed with major depression."We identified a potentialtherapeutic target for developmentof novel anti-depressants." said Dr.Fang Liu, Principal Investigator andSenior Scientist in CAMH'sNeuroscience Program andAssociate Professor of Psychiatry atthe University of Toronto. Workingfrom this discovery, researcherssought to find a way to disruptcoupling between the two receptorsin hopes that it would have an anti-depressant effect.Using an autopsied brain study, Dr.Liu and her team initially found thatcoupling between two dopaminereceptors was significantly elevated in the brains of peoplewho had been diagnosed with major depression. They startedby analyzing a specific dopamine signaling mechanism, theD1 and D2 receptor complex, to identify the sites where thetwo receptors bind together. With this information, they wereable to generate a protein peptide to disrupt the binding of thetwo receptors. The peptide was then tested in animal modelsto compare the effects with existing anti-depressantmedications."After we administered the peptide, we saw a markedimprovement in depression-related behaviors. Theimprovement seen in the peptide group was equivalent to theimprovement on traditional anti-depressant medication."This peptide is an entirely new approach to treatingdepression, which has previously relied on medications thatprimarily block serotonin or norepinephrine transporters.These conventional antidepressant medications don't work forall patients, and can cause various side effects. "We arehopeful that our research will lead to new options fortreatment that might have reduced side effects for patientswith depression," Dr Liu stated.
: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.
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