Researchers at Hertfordshire-based medical company, Heptares Therapeutics announced that they have managed to identify a 'misery molecule' in the brain that is responsible for all the feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
The researchers used one of the world's most powerful x-ray machines, the Diamond Light Source particle accelerator at Harwell, to analyze molecules present on the outer surfaces of cells in the brain's pituitary gland and identified a protein, called CRF1, which triggered the cells to release hormones linked with stress and anxiety.
The researchers also suggested that the protein could play a key role in depression and can be targeted by new drugs in treating the condition.
"Stress-related diseases such as depression and anxiety affect a quarter of adults each year, but what many people don't realize is that these conditions are controlled by proteins in the brain, one of which is CRF1. What we have done is to work out its structure, which tells us how it works and, potentially, means we can design drugs to control it", the chief scientific officer at Heptares Therapeutics, Fiona Marshall said.