Antidepressants Create New Brain Cells
Scientists have determined how antidepressants make new brain cells with new research that will contribute to better depression-fighting medications.
Tricylcic and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were already known for their ability to generate new brain cells, but now scientists better understand how this is achieved.
In the study, the team used human hippocampal stem cells and observed the effect of the antidepressants in a lab dish.
The scientists looked at Zoloft as well as other antidepressants and found they regulated the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and that the stimulation of new cell creation was dependent upon that stress response receptor.
The discovery brings hope to the medical battle against depression, which can cause debilitating psychological systems such as low mood or impaired memory due to a reduction in neurogenesis, the development of new brain cells.
Depression affects 121 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
"Having identified the glucocorticoid receptor as a key player in making new brain cells, we will now be able to use this novel stem cell system to model psychiatricillnesses in the laboratory, test new compounds and develop much more effective, targeted antidepressant drugs," said Christoph Anacker, who led the study, as quoted by Reuters.