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.




I found your subject to be extremely interesting, as a person who has witnessed firsthand some family members suffering from depression and anxiety issues. However, I think this conclusion isn't supported well enough in this case. First of all, these mice that were tested on, we don't really know many were actually test subjects. I feel that may be something of a misleading statistic. Also, I don't know if mice are the best way to be able to predict how much of an effect these drugs can have on a person, and if targeting the SIRT1 protein's activity in the brain is the best way to lead to new developments of anti-depressants. All in all, it was a fascinating read, so good job on writing this article.

Hello ,
I read your article and I found it really interesting, depression is a mental disease that affects a lot of people nowadays and it is great to see that science are making progress in this field. However I think that the when you talk about the mice scientific experience you do not mention the size of the sample. Therefore we cannot know if there was 2000 or 20 mice tested. Nevertheless I think that this study was really interesting to read.

Hi! I had never heard about this protein before reading your post and I found this really interesting. I think that this could potential help in the medical field. The only thing that is making me have a doubt about this research is the size of the group of rats that were put to this scenario. It makes a difference whether 10 mice or 100 of them were tested, because if for example 500 of them were placed under social stress and that most of them, but not all had an increase in SIRT1 protein, hasty generalization might have even taken place. I believe that the size is not mentioned either in the original article, so it is not because you emitted this information. I might have misunderstood and would be happy for you to correct if I did. Apart from that, I loved reading about his topic and you worded and explained everything very well.

About the author