PORTLAND, Ore. Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) have located a new target in the brain for the development of improved anti-anxiety medications. Through the use of a mouse model, researchers found that absence of a certain enzyme greatly reduces both anxiety and stress in the animals when compared to normal mice. The researchers believe this information can also be applied to humans and used in the development of better medications for serious anxiety disorders. The research is printed in the October issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Jacob Raber, Ph.D., an assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience in the OHSU School of Medicine collaborated with researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of North Carolina on the project.
"To conduct this study, we used a strain of mouse that lacks an enzyme called protein kinase Ce (PKCe)," said Raber. "Earlier work showed that this enzyme interacts with GABA A receptors in the brain. As activation of GABA A receptors reduces anxiety, we tested whether PKCe deficiency reduces anxiety. This research demonstrated that a complete absence of the enzyme greatly reduces anxiety. While there are anxiety medications such as Valium currently on the market, these pharmaceuticals often act as a sedative. Even more concerning, many anxiety medications are addictive in nature. We believe this enzyme may be an ideal drug target for medications without serious side effects."
To examine stress and anxiety levels in the mice bred without PKCe, researchers recorded the animals' response to certain conditions and compared their reactions to normal mice. For instance, animals lacking PKCe were less timid about open lighted areas. These mice also exhibited reduced stress in response to being placed in a confined space for a limited amount of time.
"Much like mice, humans can also become stressed by their environment. Some people find riding in a croPage: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Jim Newman
Oregon Health & Science University
. Researchers search for first sign of congestive heart failure2
. Researchers say breast cancer in Africa may provide clues to the disease in African-Americans3
. Researchers close in on breast cancer vaccine4
. Researchers discover link between insulin and Alzheimers5
. Researchers model brains electrical storm during a seizure6
. Researchers track programs success in curbing aggressive behavior7
. Researchers confirm Vioxx nearly doubled cardiovascular risks in cancer prevention study8
. Researchers offer emergency workers a lifeline9
. Researchers discover genetic variant that may explain why women develop M.S. more than men10
. Researchers map the sexual network of an entire high school11
. Researchers hope monkeys can provide new insights into depression