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Aging-related protein may play role in depression

SIRT1 study in mice suggests possible new treatment target

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5:00pm, August 9, 2016

A busy protein known for its role in aging may also have a hand in depression, a study on mice hints. Under certain circumstances, the aging-related SIRT1 protein seems to make mice despondent, scientists report August 10 in the Journal of Neuroscience. The results are preliminary, but they might ultimately help find new depression treatments.

Today’s treatments aren’t always effective, and new approaches are sorely needed. “This is one potential new avenue,” says study coauthor Deveroux Ferguson of the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix.

Ferguson and colleagues subjected mice to 10 days of stressful encounters with other mice. After their demoralizing ordeal, the mice showed signs of depression, such as eschewing sugar water and giving up attempts to swim. Along with these signs of rodent despair, the mice had more SIRT1 gene activity in the nucleus

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