Researchers inch closer to fully understanding how brain cells conduct antidepressant action

For the first time, experts have inched closer to fully comprehending how brain cells conduct antidepressant action in the brain.

First published in the journal Cell Reports, the study centered on a factor closely related to the action of antidepressants, known as the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor.

“It is surprising to see that brain cells without activity initiate gene transcription,” according to one researcher at Barlow Family Director of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute. “Among our most interesting findings, we show that it isn’t a huge number of genes that were changed by an activity-independent mechanism, however these genes are often involved in activating other downstream genes.”

“Here, we study the effects of the balance between inhibitory and excitatory spontaneous neurotransmission on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) regulation and synaptic plasticity.”

Based on the findings, researchers showed that protein production is triggered in spite of whether or not brain cells are active, impacting neural circuits and the function of cells.

“These results reveal a role for spontaneous inhibitory neurotransmission in BDNF signaling that sets excitatory synaptic strength at rest,” the authors of the study concluded in their findings.

Image courtesy of Alamy
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