The scientists of Northwestern Medicine have discovered a new pathway in brain that can be manipulated to alleviate depression, according to the reports.
The pathway will be useful in developing a new drug for the individuals for whom other anti-depressants have failed. The medicine would be highly beneficial for countering depression as the significant number of patients don’t adequately improve with currently anti-depressant drugs.
Sarah Brooker, the first author of the study said, “Identifying new pathways that can be targeted for drug design is an important step forward in improving the treatment of depressive disorders.”
In the study, which was initially aimed at how the anti-depressant works in brain, shows that the anti-depressant drugs such as Prozac and Tricyclics target a pathway in the hippocampus called the BMP signaling pathway.
The study shows that the medicines trigger the stem cells in the brain to produce more neurons, which involved in mood and memory formation. After confirming the importance of BMP pathway, the scientists tested brain protein Noggin on depressed mice.
Brooker said, “We hypothesized it would have an antidepressant effect, but we weren’t sure.”
The team discovered Noggin blocks the pathway more precisely and effective than prozac or Tricyclics.
The other researcher said, “The biochemical changes in the brain that lead to depression are not well understood, and many patients fail to respond to currently available drugs. Our findings may not only help to understand the causes of depression, but also may provide a new biochemical target for developing more effective therapies.”
By Prajakt K