Understanding Astrocytes Holds Promise for Rapid Antidepressant Action

Feb 27, 2013

Astrocytic signaling to adenosine receptors results in the robust reduction of depressive-like behaviors associated with sleep deprivation.

Researchers from Tufts University have found that astrocytic signaling to adenosine receptors results in the robust reduction of depressive-like behaviors associated with sleep deprivation.1 Although the study was completed in mice, the researchers believe their findings hold great promise for therapeutic benefits in humans, noting the rapid beneficial effects could be especially promising for patients who are suicidal.

“The results of this study provide a highly novel and innovative future strategy of targeting glial specific receptors to influence adenosine signaling,” the authors concluded. “One can envision the potential of developing therapeutic agents that act on these receptors to control adenosine and as a consequence depressive-like behaviors without the normal peripheral side effects of adenosine pharmacology.”

Reference1. Hines DJ, Schmitt LI, Hines RM, Moss SJ, Haydon PG. Antidepressant effects of sleep deprivation require astrocyte-dependent adenosine mediated signaling. Transl Psychiatry. 2013;3:e212.

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