According to a study published in Molecular Psychiatry and led by researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, inhibiting an enzyme can alleviate symptoms of depression, providing a new therapeutic target for the disease.
As a common mood disorder, depression is estimated to affect 19 million people in the USA alone. People with depression experience overwhelming feelings of sadness, unpleasure, guilt and hopelessness, which interfere with daily life. Depression is major cause of disability and suicide worldwide.
Currently, more than one hundred depression medications, or antidepressants, are available, such a Prozac, Cymbalta, Zoloft and Lexapro. However, not everyone can benefit from these medications, and conventional antidepressants requires 2-4 weeks of continuous treatment to elicit their therapeutic effects. It is urgent to find fast-onset antidepressants.
Glyoxalase 1 (GLO1), also known as lactoylglutathione lyase, is an important enzyme that helps remove a byproduct of cell metabolism. This byproduct inhibits nerve cells and affects mood and behavior. Growing evidence shows that modulation of GLO1 activity can be a way to treat neurological and psychiatric conditions.
In the study, the researchers investigated three groups of mice: the first group that received the new treatment that blocks GLO1; the second group that received the conventional drug Prozac; and the third group that were left untreated. Results showed that inhibition of GLO1 reduced symptoms of depression in 5 days while Prozac took 14 days to show therapeutic effect. Collectively, the findings suggest that drugs that inhibit GLO1 may be used as fast-onset antidepressants.
Existing antidepressants can also cause other side effects, such as weight gain, nausea, and sleep disruption. It may takes years before the method used in this study can be tested in humans in clinical trails. But drugs that inhibit GLO1 may hold hope for a better treatment.
Besides, GLO1 protein and other bio-molecules can be offered by Cusabio, a biotech company specialized in manufacturing proteins and antibodies. http://www.cusabio.com/