A scientific team based at Yale University have identified a natural anti-depressant. The substance, called neuritin, is found in the brain and it has a role in nerve transmission.
The research, reported by Science Now, showed that the naturally occurring substance neuritin, found in the brain, can alleviate stress-induced depressive symptoms. This relates to the fact that neurons in brains, which contain neuritin, function as important receptors for regulating mood and emotion.
To investigate the effects of neuritin the scientists subjected mice to various types of stress over a thirty-dive day period. The stress factors included putting the mice into over-crowded cages, varying the temperature or putting the mice into water. The scientists monitored the genetic activity of the mice by studying their neuritin levels and showed that they fell, unless the mice were given an anti-depressant.
The findings, Medical Daily suggests, indicate that neuritin is probably involved in stress-dependent mood effects. The findings may help scientists to understand molecular mechanisms underlying depression, and may lead to a new generation therapeutic medicines.
The scientific team was led by neurobiologist Ronald Duman of Yale University and the research findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The reference for the paper is:
H. Son et al., “Neuritin produces antidepressant actions and blocks the neuronal and behavioral deficits caused by chronic stress,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.