Scientists have discovered a molecule with antidepressant actions, which is produced by the brain as a result of physical exercise.
Exercise has many health benefits, including antidepressant actions in humans, but the mechanisms underlying these effects are not fully clear. In a study online in Nature Medicine, Ronald Duman and colleagues used microarrays to identify genes whose expression changed in the mouse brain in response to exercise. One of the genes they identified was the gene encoding a growth factor known as VGF, a molecule known to influence neural activity. The authors went on to show that administration of VGF produced a robust antidepressant response in mice and, conversely, that mutation of VGF in mice had the opposite effects. The results imply VGF as a potential therapeutic target for antidepressant drug development.
Ronald Duman (Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
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