A new study found that a tiny molecule can help detect those individuals who are likely to respond to antidepressant treatments. It has also been said to provide a marker for depression. Researchers at the McGill University and the Douglas Institute in Canada found that the levels of a small molecule, referred to as miR-12, which is found only in humans as well as other primates are lower in the brain of depressed people.
Depression is common medical condition that is also a common cause of disability. While there are different forms of medications available for its treatment, to find the right kind of medication for an individual patients often leads to trial and error for the physician.
The researchers examined brain tissues from those individuals who were depressed and compared the received data with brain tissues from psychiatrically healthy individuals. Dr Gustavo Turecki, psychiatrist at the Douglas and professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry at McGill said, “We identified this molecule, a microRNA known as miR-1202, only found in humans and primates and discovered that it regulates an important receptor of the neurotransmitter glutamate”.
Turecki along with his colleagues conducted several experiments that showed that the antidepressants changed the levels of the microRNA. "In our clinical trials with living depressed individuals treated with citalopram, a commonly prescribed antidepressant, we found lower levels in depressed individuals compared to the non-depressed individuals before treatment," he said.
He added, “Clearly, microRNA miR-1202 increased as the treatment worked and individuals no longer felt depressed".
Even though antidepressants are effective, there is a difference in how individuals respond to antidepressant treatment. "We found that miR-1202 is different in individuals with depression and particularly, among those patients who eventually will respond to antidepressant treatment," Turecki said.
The study has been published in the journal, Nature Medicine.
Article source: Financialexpress
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