Sunday, September 4, 2011

P38 alpha MAP Kinase inhibition: possible therapeutic target for depression

P38 alpha MAP Kinase inhibition: possible therapeutic target for depressionPreclinical Study: A research team from St. Louis and Seattle reports in the Aug. 11 issue of the journal Neuronthat in mice exposed to stress, a protein called p38α mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) influences the animal's behavior, contributing to depression-like symptoms and risk for addiction. The researchers demonstrate that p38α MAPK protein is activated by kappa-opioid receptors on neurons to regulate serotonin, a key neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. When exposed to stress, the brain releases hormones that specifically interact with kappa-opioid receptors on neurons. Those receptors, in turn, activate p38α MAPK, which then interacts with the serotonin transporter in the cells to reduce the amount of available serotonin and triggering depression-like behaviors as well as drug-seeking behavior in the mice. http://www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273(11)00515-0

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