This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

6 Jun 2013

Drug may prevent PTSD symptoms following trauma

Laboratory mice responded positively to Oprl1, and the next step is to determine its effect on humans.

A new drug called Oprl1 could help to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms establishing themselves after a traumatic experience.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists tested the medicine in laboratory mice that had been exposed to anxiety-inducing experiences.

Dr Kerry J Ressler and his team had previously conducted numerous investigations in order to differentiate PTSD symptoms from simple fear responses in mice.

The animals exhibiting the condition exhibited unusual behaviours, such as memory problems, and difficulties differentiating between safety and danger.

Researchers then identified gene expressions associated with PTSD, and found that Oprl1 was noticeably tuned down in affected mice.

They hypothesised that increasing levels through drug administration could help to reduce or prevent symptoms developing, and so performed a trial.

Brain scans of the animals evidenced reduced PTSD symptoms in those that received the treatment, and researchers now want to determine if effects can be mimicked in humans.

Analysing the link between Oprl1 gene expression and PTSD incidence in humans could be the first step towards determining whether the medicine will have applications.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the burden of PTSD was 0.6 per cent of global YLDs (years lost to disability) in 2000.

Related News