Depression and the Brain

Depression is a medical condition that can cause persistent feelings of sadness or loss of interest.  It can affect work, sleep, eating and other daily activities.  An estimated 121 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression, with the highest incidence in India, the U.S., France and the Netherlands.

More than 80 percent of depression sufferers do not receive any treatment for the illness.  One challenge is to determine specific biological markers for depression, so that more effective therapeutics can be developed and prescribed.

In a recent study, Canadian and U.S. researchers discovered a link between major depressive episodes and brain inflammation.  MDE sufferers experienced a significant elevation in translocator protein density, an important aspect of neuroinflammation.  Therapeutics that reduce such activation may help MDE.

In earlier research, German scientists working with Agilent studied the relationship between depression and the proteome (the entire collection of proteins encoded by the genome).  They examined cerebrospinal fluid, which reflects the metabolic status and biochemical alterations of the brain.

The scientists successfully identified 11 proteins and 144 peptide features that differed significantly in association with depression.  These proteins are involved in neuroprotection, neuronal development, sleep regulation and plaque deposition on the aging brain.  The research used an Agilent HPLC-Chip/MS, LC/MSD TOF, MassHunter and Mass Profiler software, Agilent columns and an Agilent Multiple Affinity Removal system.

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