Screen Readers Skip to Content
Tweet Facebook Buffer

Tiny Molecule Predicts Treatment Response for Depression

Author: McGill University : Contact: To contact the researcher directly email - gustavo.turecki@mcgill.ca

Published: 2014-06-08

Synopsis and Key Points:

Researchers find a tiny molecule that predicts treatment response for depressed patients and may help battle depression.

Main Digest

Levels of a small molecule found only in humans and in other primates are lower in the brains of depressed individuals, according to researchers at McGill University and the Douglas Institute.

This discovery may hold a key to improving treatment options for those who suffer from depression.

Depression is a common cause of disability, and while viable medications exist to treat it, finding the right medication for individual patients often amounts to trial and error for the physician.

In a new study published in the journal Nature Medicine, Dr. Gustavo Turecki, a psychiatrist at the Douglas and professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry at McGill, together with his team, discovered that the levels of a tiny molecule, miR-1202, may provide a marker for depression and help detect individuals who are likely to respond to antidepressant treatment.

"Using samples from the Douglas Bell-Canada Brain Bank, we examined brain tissues from individuals who were depressed and compared them with brain tissues from psychiatrically healthy individuals, says Turecki, who is also Director of the McGill Group for Suicide Studies, "We identified this molecule, a microRNA known as miR-1202, only found in humans and primates and discovered that it regulates an important receptor of the neurotransmitter glutamate".

Sample from the Douglas-Bell Canada Brain - Picture Credit: Douglas Institute
Sample from the Douglas-Bell Canada Brain - Picture Credit: Douglas Institute

The team conducted a number of experiments that showed that antidepressants change the levels of this microRNA.

"In our clinical trials with living depressed individuals treated with citalopram, a commonly prescribed antidepressant, we found lower levels in depressed individuals compared to the non-depressed individuals before treatment," says Turecki. "Clearly, microRNA miR-1202 increased as the treatment worked and individuals no longer felt depressed."

Antidepressant drugs are the most common treatment for depressive episodes, and are among the most prescribed medications in North America. "Although antidepressants are clearly effective, there is variability in how individuals respond to antidepressant treatment," says Turecki, "We found that miR-1202 is different in individuals with depression and particularly, among those patients who eventually will respond to antidepressant treatment".

The discovery may provide "a potential target for the development of new and more effective antidepressant treatments," he adds.

Related Documents


Important:

Disabled World is strictly a news and information website provided for general informational purpose only and does not constitute medical advice. Materials presented are in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Any 3rd party offering or advertising on disabled-world.com does not constitute endorsement by Disabled World.

Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.