Scientists in the U.K. using human stem cells say they have discovered how certain antidepressants form new brain cells, according to a Reuters report. This finding will help researchers develop more effective drugs for treating depression.
Molecular Psychiatry published a study that used Pfizer's Zoloft and other antidepressants in which researchers from King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry found that these types of drugs regulate the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), a key protein involved in stress response.
Evidence in the study also indicated that all types of antidepressant are dependent on the GR to create new cells, researchers reported.
"Having identified the glucocorticoid receptor as a key player in making new brain cells, we will now be able to use this novel stem cell system to model psychiatric illnesses in the laboratory, test new compounds and develop much more effective, targeted antidepressant drugs," said Christoph Anacker, a doctorate student at the IoP who led the study.
"We have some tools with which we can probe the glucocorticoid receptor but... we don't yet have a drug which is ready to be tested. What we do have, however, is a specific target on which drug companies... can dedicate their attention," said Carmine Pariante, a researcher at IoP, in a telephone interview.