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What is the link between depression and genes? A discovery that could help treat emotional disorders


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Russian researchers have discovered a cluster of several protein molecules and genes involved in the development of clinical depression in humans.

Also in rats and zebrafish. The press service of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology said that this discovery will help accelerate the study of the mechanisms of development of emotional disorders.

“We have been able to identify several key brain proteins such as GRIA1, DLG1, CDH1, THRB, PLCG2, NGEF, IKZF1 and FEZF2 that are associated with depression. Our promising drugs can be targeted at them, ”the press service quotes Elena Petersen. – said the head of the laboratory of the institute. In addition, we have identified a set of associated genes that can be used for further study of pathogens.

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, more than 260 million people in the world now suffer from clinical depression. Depression kills about 800,000 people every year, especially teenagers and boys and girls between the ages of 15 and 29. Fighting depression is difficult because neurophysiologists do not fully understand the nature of this disease and cannot determine the exact number of people suffering from it.

Moreover, not only humans suffer from various forms of stress and depression, but almost all vertebrate animals, from fish to higher primates. Petersen and her colleagues were interested in whether there are common genetic proteins and mechanisms involved in the development of such affective disorders in humans and other vertebrate organisms.

The researchers’ calculations helped them identify eight protein chains and more than a dozen associated genes that influenced the development of depression in all three vertebrate species studied. These include the GRIA1, DLG1, CDH1, THRB, PLCG2, NGEF, IKZF1, and FEZF2 proteins and related DNA regions that contain instructions for the production of these molecules or somehow regulate their production.

All these proteins and sections of DNA, as scientists note, play an important role in the formation of new connections between nerve cells, the growth of nerve endings, the transfer of various chemical signals between them, as well as the transfer of various molecules inside nerve cells. Violations in the functioning of some of them in the past have been associated with the development of brain diseases.

Scientists hope that further study of these proteins and their associated gene sequences will allow us to understand how depression develops at the level of individual brain neurons. This information, in turn, will help us understand which proteins and genes need to be affected in order to suppress emotional disturbances and return people to normal life.

Source: TASS

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