Chronic Unpredictable Stress and the Genetics of Depression

Another finding has just been published strengthening the association between genetics — factors we inherit from our parents — and depression. This study demonstrated a doubling of the activity of a particular gene in people with a history of depression compared to those without depression. There was also an increase in the activity of this gene in an animal model of depression called the Chronic Unpredictable Stress model.

However, when the animals were given Prozac, the abnormal activity of this gene was reversed, which was associated with a reduction in depression-like behaviors. So, this study also supported the validity of medication treatment for depression, even when external stressors (life stressors) are a trigger for depression. Also, activity of this gene, called MKP-1, which has a known role in the health of neurons, provides a potential target for new types of treatments for depression.

Regards, Dr. Ranen