Study in humans & rats shows more physical changes in depressed brains
September 8, 2015
The discovery, about a protein called fibroblast growth factor 9 or FGF9, goes against previous findings that depressed brains often have less of key components than non-depressed brains.
In this case, people with major depression had 32 percent more of FGF9 in a key part of their brain than people without the condition. In rats, raising FGF9 levels artificially led to depression-like behavior changes, and repeated social stress caused brain FGF9 levels to rise.
Taken together, the findings provide more evidence that depression is a physical illness. If FGF9 or its effects prove to be a good target for drugs, the finding could eventually help lead to better medications for the mental health condition that affects millions of Americans.