Researchers Uncover Mechanism Linking Stress and Depression

By Staff Writer

For some people, the chronic stress of their work or family lives can be overwhelming. Often times, this results in depression. However, a new study published in the journal Neuron describes a possible mechanism in the brain that links the two conditions, which may lead to improved treatments for depression at drug rehab and mental health facilities.

Using a set of mice as test subjects, researchers from Yoshifumi University in Japan found that certain genetic alterations make an individual more vulnerable to depression as a result of chronic stress.

They found that depressed mice were more likely to have low expression of the glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor gene. This has previously been implicated in animal test subjects as well as in humans in an increased depression risk.

While not everyone who experiences chronic stress develops depression, the researchers said that it remains one of the leading causes. Many people who seek rehab treatment for depression report high levels of stress. The researchers hope that their findings could lead to the development of new therapies that improve the success rate of treatment.