Studying Stress at a Molecular Level

March 23, 2021
Valentim Gentil, MD, PhD

,
Michal Slezak, PhD

If depression impairs the brain’s processes at a molecular level, would the same be true of stress more generally?

FROM OUR READERS

Congratulations to the authors of the research discussed in Michal Slezak, PhD’s “Studying Depression at a Molecular Level.”

Given the focus on the biology of stress, their model seems appropriate not only for depression, but also for stress itself. If so, antidepressants may be appropriate for treating stress disorders as well. In my own research, I found that at sub-antidepressant doses, antidepressants reduce stress-related behavior and feelings in about 30% of individuals.1

Perhaps this interesting line of inquiry could be furthered by studying astrocytes in the brains not only of patients who have died by suicide, but also in the brains of depressed patients more generally.

Dr Gentil is an emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of Sao Paulo Medical School in Brazil.

In Response:

Thank you, Dr Gentil, for the comment! The study sounds very relevant, and I look forward to reading it.

The issue with obtaining brain samples from depressed patients is a major one, since those patients very rarely have the indication for brain surgery.

Hopefully, emerging brain bank collections will enable such possibility as the dysfunction of astrocytes in non-suicide patients with stress-induced depression is highly possible.

Best regards,

Michal Slezak, PhD

Dr Slezak is a group leader at BioMed X Institute studying brain microcircuits in psychiatric diseases.

Reference

1. Gentil V, Zilberman ML, Lobo D, et al. Clomipramine-induced mood and perceived performance changes in selected healthy individuals. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2007;27(3):314-5.

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