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Researchers Find Promising New Candidate For Depression Treatment

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Researchers Find Promising New Candidate For Depression Treatment

At least 300 million people globally suffer from major depressive disorder, according to the World Health Organization. And regrettably, depression treatment-as-usual treat works for only about half of those affected.

Recent research, however, has examined how a protein called CK2 which could be playing a critical role.

The authors point out that most commonly used antidepressants are SSRIs, but there are more than a dozen different types of corresponding receptors, and it is unknown which of them are actually responding to an SSRI’s therapeutic effects.

Julia Castello, lead author, and her research team are the first to identify CK2 as a modulator of the serotonin receptor 5-HT4. Moreover, manipulation of this protein the brain reduces depressive symptoms via the 5-HT4 receptor.

Castello, biochemistry student at the Graduate Center, CUNY, stated the following in a release:

“Identifying new targets broadens our understanding about the cause of depression as well as the mechanism of action of antidepressants, which could lead to the formulation of new antidepressants that work more efficiently and faster for more people.”

“(CK2 manipulation) could lead to the formulation of new antidepressants that work more efficiently and faster for more people.”

Antidepressants can be very effective, but in addition to medication, most mental health care professionals recommend engaging in regular exercise, eating a healthy, balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, and using holistic approaches such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, symptoms of depression may include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite, unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Trouble sleeping or oversleeping
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (i.e. pacing) or slowed movements and speech
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Suicidal ideations

Depression has been associated with an increased risk of both social isolation and substance abuse.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology




J Castello, B LeFrancois, M Flajolet, P Greengard, E Friedman, H Rebholz. CK2 regulates 5-HT4 receptor signaling and modulates depressive-like behavior. Molecular Psychiatry, 2017; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2017.240

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