About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Scientists Identify Mechanism for Postpartum Depression in Brain

by Rajashri on August 2, 2008 at 3:08 PM
Font : A-A+

 Scientists Identify Mechanism for Postpartum Depression in Brain

A brain mechanism that may be responsible for postpartum depression in women has been uncovered by researchers from University of California at Los Angeles.

The team has identified a suspect protein in mice that may promote depression-like behaviours.

Advertisement

"For the first time, we may have a highly useful model of postpartum depression," said NIMH Director Dr Thomas R. Insel.

"The new research also points to a specific potential new target in the brain for medications to treat this disorder that affects 15 percent of women after they give birth," he added.
Advertisement

During the study the researchers used a genetically engineered mice lacking a protein critical for adapting to the sex hormone fluctuations of pregnancy and the postpartum period.

"After giving birth, female mice deficient in the suspect protein showed depression-like behaviors and neglected their newborn pups," said Istvan Mody, Ph.D., lead researcher, of the University of California at Los Angeles,

"Giving a drug that restored the protein's function improved maternal behavior and reduced pup mortality," Mody added.

Researchers Mody and Jamie Maguire assumed that postpartum depression was the result of marked fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone that accompany pregnancy and childbirth

Yet manipulating the hormones experimentally triggers depression only in women with a history of the disorder. The roots of their vulnerability remain a mystery.

Previous studies have made it evident that the hormones exert their effects on mood through the brain's major inhibitory chemical messenger system, called GABA, which dampens neural activity, helping to regulate when a neuron fires.

They found the GABA receptor subunit fluctuated conspicuously during pregnancy and postpartum in the brains of female mice, hinting that it might have pivotal behavioural effects.

Similar to human mothers with postpartum depression, the genetically altered mouse mothers were more lethargic and less pleasure-seeking than normal mice. They also shunned their pups and failed to make proper nests for them.

The researchers then treated the mice with a drug called THIP that acts on the receptor in a way that specifically restores its function in spite of the reduced number of subunits.

They found that the abnormal maternal behaviour was reversed and pup survival increased.

"Improper functioning of the subunit could impair the GABA system's ability to adapt to hormone fluctuations during the highly vulnerable post partum period," said Maguire.

"Targeting this subunit might be a promising strategy in developing new treatments for postpartum depression," she added.

The findings appear in the July 31, 2008 issue of Neuron.

Source: ANI
RAS/L
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Menstrual Disorders
Coffee May Help You Fight Endometrial Cancer
Fermented Skin Care
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Adolescence Depression Depression Parkinsons Disease Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Stress Relief Through Alternative Medicine Andropause / Male Menopause Pregnancy and Complications Brain Brain Facts Bereavement 

Recommended Reading
Depression
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders affecting approximately 340 million people in ...
Adolescent Depression
Adolescent depression is an ailment that occurs during the teenage characterized by persistent ......
Suicide
Suicide is an act of ending one's own life and it usually results from emotional isolations and ......
Smiling Could Ward Off the Blues
A new book written by Professor Jane Plant has said that millions of Britons can fight anxiety and ....
Andropause / Male Menopause
Andropause or male menopause causing low libido in a man is due to decreasing level of male hormones...
Bereavement
Bereavement refers to grief, pain and sadness following the loss of a loved one, especially during t...
Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by progressive dopamine brain cells loss. ...
Pregnancy and Complications
In-depth guide for expecting mothers to overcome health complications related to early or late pregn...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
open close
CONSULT A DOCTOR
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)