The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 8 million U.S. individuals were diagnosed with major depressive disorder between 2009 and 2010, and that the condition accounted for almost 43,000 deaths during that time.
Treatment options available for people with depression include psychotherapy and medication. Antidepressants work for most people, however for others, the side effects pose serious health risks. The medication may lead to suicidal thoughts or even suicide attempts in some people, especially during the initial period of 2 to 4 weeks before the drugs start to work.
In an attempt to come up with a better alternative to the antidepressants currently on the market, researchers from the University of California (UC) San Diego School of Medicine have set out to study depression in mice. The team – led by Abraham Palmer, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and vice chair for basic research at the UC San Diego School of Medicine – found that inhibiting a certain enzyme alleviates symptoms of depression in mice.
The findings were published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
Glyoxalase 1 inhibitor relieved depression-like symptoms in mice
Palmer and team inhibited an enzyme called Glyoxalase 1 (GLO1). GLO1 has been shown to inhibit, in its turn, a byproduct that results from the cell’s metabolism. This byproduct inhibits neurons and influences mood and behavior.