Possible Breakthrough in Regulating Depressive Behaviours Using SIRT1 Protein
by lalalele on September 6, 2016 - 10:17am
Mice were placed in a scenario that caused them to show symptoms similar to those found in people suffering from depression. When they were placed under this social stress, SIRT1 protein levels rose in a part of the brain called the NAc (nucleus accumbens).
According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, this protein could be an important factor towards regulating depressive like behaviours and developing new antidepressants. Once researchers discovered the link between this protein and depressive behaviours, they started to look for ways to alter the protein directly to determine how changing the levels of SIRT1 might affect the behaviours in the mice.
It was found that resveratrol, which is a compound that activates SIRT1, increased depression and anxiety like behaviours when it was infused into the NAc of the mice, while EX-527, a small drug-like molecule, decreased those depressive/anxious behaviours and suppressed SIRT1 activity in the NAc. Genetic manipulation was also performed, and through that it was discovered that by raising and lowering those SIRT1 levels, the same increase and decrease in behaviours was found.
Additional research conducted even associated SIRT1 gene variations with panic and anxiety disorders. Thanks to these new discoveries, antidepressants may now be developed so that they target the SIRT1 protein’s activity in the brain.