Medindia

X

Brain Predisposed to Mental Illnesses by Chronic Stress

by Himabindu Venkatakrishnan on  February 13, 2014 at 1:55 PM Mental Health News   - G J E 4
Long-term changes in brain is generated by chronic stress, making it a major reason for predisposition to mental problems like anxiety and mood disorders in later life, suggest researchers.
 Brain Predisposed to Mental Illnesses by Chronic Stress
Brain Predisposed to Mental Illnesses by Chronic Stress
Advertisement

In a series of experiments, Daniela Kaufer, UC Berkeley associate professor of integrative biology, and her colleagues, including graduate students Sundari Chetty and Aaron Freidman, discovered that chronic stress generates more myelin-producing cells and fewer neurons than normal. This results in an excess of myelin - and thus, white matter - in some areas of the brain, which disrupts the delicate balance and timing of communication within the brain.

Advertisement
Kaufer's lab, which conducts research on the molecular and cellular effects of acute and chronic stress, focused in this study on neural stem cells in the hippocampus of the brains of adult rats. These stem cells were previously thought to mature only into neurons or a type of glial cell called an astrocyte.

The researchers found, however, that chronic stress also made stem cells in the hippocampus mature into another type of glial cell called an oligodendrocyte, which produces the myelin that sheaths nerve cells.

The finding, which they demonstrated in rats and cultured rat brain cells, suggests a key role for oligodendrocytes in long-term and perhaps permanent changes in the brain that could set the stage for later mental problems. Oligodendrocytes also help form synapses - sites where one cell talks to another - and help control the growth pathway of axons, which make those synapse connections.

The fact that chronic stress also decreases the number of stem cells that mature into neurons could provide an explanation for how chronic stress also affects learning and memory, she said.

The study has been published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Source: ANI
Advertisement

Post your Comments

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
User Avatar
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
Notify me when reply is posted I agree to the terms and conditions

You May Also Like

Advertisement
View All