Depression caused by
a lack of P11 Protein
January 5th, 2006
Nobel Laureate researchers discovered a protein called P11, which they
believe acts like an antidepressant.
First reported in Science, Paul Greengard, Ph.D, a Rockefeller
University neuroscientist who also received the 2000 Nobel Prize in
Physiology or Medicine said, "Mice deficient in this protein, called
p11, display depression-like behaviors, while those with sufficient
amounts behave as if they have been treated with antidepressants."
Greengard and his colleagues discovered that P11 protein is able to help
in the regulation of serotonin. Low levels of serotonin have long been
known to cause depression and anxiety.
Serotonin selective re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a commonly
prescribed medication help compensate for the loss of serotonin
signaling and boost the levels and binding ability for serotonin to the
The researchers looked into what proteins worked with these receptors.
They discovered that 5-HT1B interacts with P11 protein. The P11 is and
aid to the receptors by making the cells work better at attracting the
serotonin. The scientists felt that lowered P11 levels would create
depression and anxiety.
The study involved mice and non-depressed humans. They measured the
levels of P11 protein and found that it was lower in depressed humans
and helpless mice. The researchers further studied the P11 levels when
the mice were subjected to antidepressant medications and therapy – a
tricyclic, a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor, and electroconvulsive
"These three different ways of treating depression all caused an
increase in the amount of p11 in the brains of these mice," said
Greengard. "They all work in totally different ways, but in all cases
they caused the same biochemical change. So, it's pretty convincing that
p11 is associated with the main therapeutic action of antidepressant
Further research will be conducted into why the antidepressant
medications increase the P11 levels. In understanding the way the P11
protein works, research may offer other solutions for depression and
anxiety in the future.
Best Syndication Staff Writer
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