Why Do Women Respond Differently Than Men to Depression Treatments?

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The scientists think that the response depends on the brain.

Researchers have actually determined a possible description why females might not respond to treatments for anxiety likewise to guys.

Despite the reality that there are treatments for anxiety, lots of people discover these treatments to be unhelpful sometimes. Furthermore, females have higher rates of anxiety than males, however the factor for this variation is uncertain, making their diseases often more complex to deal with.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis worked together with scientists from Mount Sinai Hospital, Princeton University, and Laval University, Quebec, in an effort to comprehend how the nucleus accumbens, a specific area of the brain, is affected throughout anxiety. The nucleus accumbens plays a vital function in inspiration, how we respond to pleasant occasions, and how we get in touch with others– all of which are affected by anxiety.

Previous research studies of the nucleus accumbens exposed that particular genes were turned on or off in females with anxiety however not in males. Depression signs might have been activated by these changes, or the depressive episode itself might have modified the brain. The scientists analyzed mice that had actually been exposed to undesirable social interactions, which are most likely to trigger depression-related habits in women than males. This permitted the scientists to separate in between these 2 hypotheses.

Brain UC Davis

The nucleus accumbens (represented in blue) belongs of the brain that manages inspiration. Researchers from UC Davis compared samples of the nucleus accumbens in mice and human beings to discover hints to how this part of the brain is impacted by tension and anxiety in males and women. Credit: UC Davis

“These high-throughput analyses are very informative for understanding long-lasting effects of stress on the brain. In our rodent model, negative social interactions changed gene expression patterns in female mice that mirrored patterns observed in women with depression,” stated Alexia Williams, a doctoral scientist and current UC Davis graduate who created and led these research studies. “This is exciting because women are understudied in this field, and this finding allowed me to focus my attention on the relevance of these data for women’s health.”

The research study was just recently released in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

After determining comparable molecular modifications in the brains of mice and human beings, scientists picked one gene, regulator of g protein signaling-2, or Rgs2, to control. This gene manages the expression of a protein that controls neurotransmitter receptors that are targeted by antidepressant medications such as Prozac and Zoloft.

“In humans, less stable versions of the Rgs2 protein are associated with increased risk of depression, so we were curious to see whether increasing Rgs2 in the nucleus accumbens could reduce depression-related behaviors,” stated Brian Trainor, UC Davis teacher of psychology and senior author on the research study. He is likewise an associated professor with the Center for Neuroscience and directs the Behavioral Neuroendocrinology Lab at UC Davis.

When the scientists experimentally increased Rgs2 protein in the nucleus accumbens of the mice, they efficiently reversed the results of tension on these female mice, keeping in mind that social method and choices for favored foods increased to levels observed in women that did not experience any tension.

“These results highlight a molecular mechanism contributing to the lack of motivation often observed in depressed patients. Reduced function of proteins like Rgs2 may contribute to symptoms that are difficult to treat in those struggling with mental illnesses,” Williams stated.

Findings from standard science research studies such as this one might direct the advancement of pharmacotherapies to efficiently deal with people struggling with anxiety, the scientists stated.

“Our hope is that by doing studies such as these, which focus on elucidating mechanisms of specific symptoms of complex mental illnesses, we will bring science one step closer to developing new treatments for those in need,” stated Williams.

Reference: “Comparative transcriptional analyses in the nucleus accumbens identifies RGS2 as a key mediator of depression-related behavior” by Alexia V. Williams, Catherine J. Pe ña, Stephanie Ramos-Maciel, Abigail Laman-Maharg, Evelyn Ordonez-Sanchez, Monica Britton, Blythe Durbin-Johnson, Matt Settles, Rebecca Hao, Sae Yokoyama, Christine Xu, Pei X. Luo, Tjien Dwyer, Shanu Bhela, Alexis M. Black, Benoit Labont é, Randal Alex Serafini, Anne Ruiz and Brian C. Trainor, 5 July 2022, Biological Psychiatry.
DOI: 10.1016/ j.biopsych.202206030