A recent study led by Dr. Se Jin Jeon from Sahmyook University and published in “Brain, Behavior, and Immunity” presents groundbreaking findings that could revolutionize the way we understand and treat depression.
The research indicates a strong correlation between immune responses, specifically those related to inflammation, and the development of depression.
The team employed a mouse model to study the relationship between genes involved in immune response and indicators of depression.
Transcriptional profiling identified 141 genes significantly associated with immobility, a mouse behavior that is linked to depression.
Real-time PCR validated that mice with higher immobility scores showed elevated expression of immune-related genes, thus providing evidence for a link between the immune system and depression.
The study also extended its findings to humans by examining DNA methylation patterns in 350 patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and 161 healthy controls.
Specific regions of the gene USP18 were found to be differently methylated in the patient group, and this methylation was correlated with reduced thickness in brain areas responsible for emotion and cognition.
These findings could have significant implications for the future treatment of depression.
With the understanding that immune response genes play a role in depression, new therapeutic approaches could potentially be developed to target these genes directly.
This would provide a new avenue for treatment, complementing or even replacing existing pharmacological options.
Dr. Jeon concludes that elevated expression of inflammation-related genes can lead to inflammatory conditions, including those in the brain.
This, in turn, contributes to structural abnormalities in the brain regions responsible for emotional regulation, leading to the development of depression.
The study represents a milestone in the effort to understand the biological mechanisms underlying depression.
It could pave the way for novel treatments that target the immune system, adding another layer of sophistication to our approach to mental health care.
If you care about depression, please read studies about a new way to treat bipolar disorder depression and findings of New study challenges the link between depression, anxiety, and cancer.
For more information about depression and health, please see recent studies that ultra-processed foods may make you feel depressed, and extra-virgin olive oil could reduce depression symptoms.
The research findings can be found in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
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