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Inherited Depression Linked To Shortage Of Cells In Brain Region

e patients with nonfamilial depression did not have fewer glia.

A shortage of glia in the subgenual prefrontal cortex is particularly interesting, Price says. His studies have revealed that this area is one of the few regions of the cortex that connect to the hypothalamus and other structures involved in stress responses. The periaqueductal gray responds to pain and sickness, for example. "It makes you become very quiet and retreat to a safe place," Price says. "That response is remarkably similar to depression, where people show social withdrawal and lack of activity."

The researchers now want to determine which type of glia is in short supply and what the consequences could be. "By studying the causes and results of these changes, we might be able to explain in the future how depression and mania arise as a consequence of changes in brain activity," Öngür says.

Öngür D, Drevets WC, Price JL (1998). Glial reduction in the subgenual prefrontal cortex in mood disorders. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 95, 13290-13295.

Grants from the U.S. Public Health Service, the National Institutes of Health and the Charles A. Dana Foundation supported this research.


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Contact: Linda Sage
sage@medicine.wustl.edu
314-286-0119
Washington University School of Medicine
27-Oct-1998


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