Researchers Find New And Faster Way Of Treating Depression


Depression, also termed the silent killer, is one of the commonly known psychological disorders affecting most individuals.

The disorder affects more than 4 percent of the global population, and the antidepressants used for alleviating its symptoms are slow to react — others have some side effects. Some have also reported that these drugs have not worked for them, even after years of use.

In a bid to seek out more effective and faster-acting antidepressants, a team of researchers at the University Of California San Diego School Of Medicine conducted an experiment.

The Benefits Of Glyoxalase

The group of researchers, discovered that inhibiting the enzyme Glyoxalase 1 (GLO1), relieved signs of depression in mice.

The Glyoxalase also worked much faster when compared to other antidepressants like Prozac.

"A better understanding of the molecular and cellular underpinnings of depression will help us find new ways to inhibit or counteract its onset and severity," said Abraham Palmer, the senior author of the study.

Underappreciated Molecular Process

Palmer and his team of researchers decoded a "previously underappreciated molecular process," which influenced the mice with depression.

Per the researchers, cells produces electricity which in turn produce a byproduct. This byproduct obstructs the neurons, which leads to abnormality in various other behaviors.

The byproducts are later removed by the GLO1 enzyme. However, consuming the GLO1 enzyme, may also lead to the increased activity of the neurons, which is highly beneficial.

Palmer and his team showed that in case of mice, the intake of the GLO1 enzyme makes them extra anxious. However, the possible effects of the enzyme on depression are not known.

What Tests Were Performed?

The researchers grouped the mice intro three groups before conducting the tests and comparing the results. conducted a series of tests in order to understand the effect of the various antidepressants and compared the results by dividing the mice into three groups.

The first group of mice were the untreated ones, second were treated by inhibiting GLO1, and the third group was treated with Prozac.

A series of tests, including the tail suspension test, as well the forced swim test, were conducted to check whether the compound was an antidepressant or not.

Few of the other test including the olfactory bulbectomy, chronic forced swim test, as well as chronic mild stage paradigm can be used to measure the time taken by the antidepressant to take effect. The use of GLO1 enzyme reportedly reduced depression within five days. By comparison, other antidepressants took around 14 days to register any effect.

Since the new method of treating depression has only been tested in mice, it will take time before the GLO1 enzyme can be tried on humans.

However, Palmer and his team of researchers have applied for a patent related to the experiment. They have already started working with chemists to develop drugs related to the GLO1 enzyme.

The study has been published in Molecular Psychiatry on March 20.

Photo: Victor | Flickr

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