Reduced Gene Expression in Reward Center is Linked to Depression

Peter Forster Basic Science, Major Depression, Psychobiology Leave a Comment

Researchers from the University of Maryland have conducted a series of experiments in mice and humans leading them to conclude that reduced gene expression in the reward center is linked to depression. Specifically, the researchers found that there was reduced expression of the Slc6a15 gene in the brains of people with major depression who committed suicide, and that expression of this …

Antidepressants Alter Gene Expression

Peter Forster Major Depression, Psychobiology, Treatments of Depression

An interesting study looked at similarities and differences in the effects of two medications that have anti-depressant effects and yet are extremely different in terms of how they work: ketamine and imipramine (a tricyclic antidepressant). This industry supported study looked at the effects of these two agents on a reward circuit (involving the prefrontal cortex (PFC), nucleus accumbens, hippocampus, and amygdala – …

Anhedonia and Ketamine

Peter Forster Bipolar Treatment, Psychobiology, Treatments of Depression

Anhedonia, meaning the loss of the normal experience of pleasure in life, can be one of the most troubling symptoms of depression. And also one for which we have relatively few treatments. We know that a small group of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmentum (limbic system) which project to the prefrontal cortex, among other locations in the brain, are …

Beta Catenin and Depression

Peter Forster Basic Science, Major Depression, Psychobiology

Beta catenin is a molecule that may play a key role in preventing depression in those exposed to stress, at least if mice and humans share the same biology. Beta catenin is involved in a number of quite different functions in the cell. To give you an idea, it may be involved in the development of cancer (it is a …

Social Intelligence and Oxytoxin

Peter Forster Basic Science, General

The nucleus accumbens (NAc) (or ventral striatum) is a central part of the reward system. The reward system has been the focus of much interest and research because of its role in the development and maintenance of addiction and depression. The reward system evolved to motivate survival behaviors and behaviors linked to reproduction and health. Evidence from research in a great number of animal species suggests that social intelligence …