Gene Associated with Major Depression Identified!
A study conducted by a team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany has revealed the association of the gene SLC6A15 with major depression.
The genome-wide association study which was conducted as a part of the research included patients who were diagnosed with major depression and people with no psychiatric disorders. Over 15,000 individuals were part of this study.
In people with major depression, SLC6A15 gene was identified as a susceptibility gene.
The functional relevance between major depression and SLC6A15 gene was examined. Individuals with no major depression but carrying risk conferring gene variants showed a low expression of SLC6A15. Moreover, these individuals also had smaller hippocampi (part of brain) which were seen using imaging techniques.
According to Dr. Martin A. Kohli, the lead author of the study, the decreased expression of SLC6A15 might lead to disturbances in neuronal circuits that are susceptible for major depression.
This new discovery might lead to the development of a new class of antidepressant drugs whose main focus is SLC6A15.