A joint research team of scientists from McGill University and French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) has extended our insight into the causes of depression. The study, led by Professor Bruno Giros of the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University and Eléni Tzavara, Director of Research at Inserm, empirically demonstrated the effects of antidepressants on serotonin and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters initiate signaling cascades, instructing the cell’s activation or inactivation of the related gene so that a biological process may be carried out accordingly.
The results show that Elk-1, a molecule appearing to have direct involvement in depression, can be targeted in mice. “We have shown the advantage of targeting signaling modules rather than the entire pathway,” said Professor Giros. Targeting reduces the need for trial and error for a physician to find the suitable drug and dosage for a patient. “Classic antidepressants take up to three weeks to have an effect and this new approach could give quicker response times,” he added, emphasizing its importance.