US scientists are reporting that they have found a
chemical link to post-natal depression in a mice study. They say that mice
lacking a receptor called GABA developed symptoms identical to post-natal
The study says the presence of this receptor in the brain
prevents over reaction to changes in hormone levels during pregnancy and birth.
In the study the genetically altered mice without the receptors became lethargic
and shunned their babies. But when the levels of the chemical were boosted in
their brains they became more active.
"Targeting this subunit (receptor type) might be a
promising strategy in developing new treatments for post-natal
depression.," said Dr Jamie Maguire, one of the researchers.
The details appear in the journal Neuron.