Experts Find Depression Gene

19/10/2010 12:24 | Updated 22 May 2015

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the UK, with between 8 - 12 of people who take them. Not just that, but it can take weeks or even months for antidepressants to start taking effect.

Now, however, new and more effective drugs could be on the horizon as researchers from Yale University claim they've found a gene that's involved in depression.

Writing in the journal Nature Medicine, the scientists claim the gene - called MKP-1 - could be an important factor in the development of the disease. Researchers analysed brain tissue samples taken from the bodies of patients who had been diagnosed with depression, as well as some who had no history of the disease. They found the expression of MKP-1 was twice as high in those who had been depressed compared to the non-depressed.

The reason the researchers believe they could be onto something is that MKP-1 is thought to block a molecular pathway that's crucial to the survival and function of brain neurons. And when they did tests on mice, activating the MKP-1 gene produced symptoms similar to depression in humans.

Have you ever suffered from depression? Did you receive treatment, and did it help?

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