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An injection into the brain being suggested as a possible future solution to depression

October 21, 2010

An article The Daily Mail reports that lab tests on mice suggest that an injection of a gene that is designed to manufacture a specific protein may alleviate some symptoms of depression in mice.

In a series of experiments, the US researchers linked lack of a brain protein called p11 to depression. Mice unable to make the protein, which helps regulate brain chemicals key to mood, became depressed, the journal Science Translational Medicine reports. But giving them injections of the genes that make the protein lifted their mood to such an extent that they became indistinguishable from normal mice. The researchers, from Weill-Cornell Medical Centre and Rockefeller University, both in New York, then checked whether the protein also plays a role in the human form of the disease. Autopsies of a brain region key to experiencing pleasure found lower levels of p11 in tissue taken from people who had died while severely depressed than in others.

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