New research points to better way to treat depression
- Published: Friday, 06 April 2018 15:40
Scientists on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered a new target for treating major depressive disorder, a disease that affects more than 16 million American adults. Their research shows that individuals with high levels of an enigmatic receptor called GPR158 may be more susceptible to depression following chronic stress.
“The next step in this process is to come up with a drug that can target this receptor”, says Kirill Martemyanov, PhD, co-chair of the TSRI Department of Neuroscience and senior author of the new study, published recently in the journal eLife.
The researchers say there is an urgent need for new drug targets in major depressive disorder. Current pharmacological treatments for depression can take a month to start working – and they don't work in all patients.
“We need to know what is happening in the brain so that we can develop more efficient therapies”, says Cesare Orlandi, PhD, senior research associate at TSRI and co-first author of the study.
The researchers zeroed in on GPR158 as a player in depression after discovering that the protein is elevated in people with major depressive disorder. To better understand GPR158's role, the scientists studied male and female mice with and without GPR158 receptors.