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13 May 2013

Reducing levels of SGK1 could help treatment of depression

Researchers have found that reducing SGK1 levels can help with the treatment of depression

SGK1 plays a crucial role in neurogenesis - the brain's ability to produce new cells - and interventions aimed at reducing levels of the protein could provide a strategy for the future treatment of depression.

That is according to a research from King's College London, which found that SGK1 was responsible for the long-term detrimental impact stress has on neurogenesis.

Stress is known to increase the body's level of cortisol, which acts a receptor called the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) - a receptor than can decrease neurogenesis.

According to the scientists, SGK1 helps to keep the GR active after cortisol has been washed out of the cells, thereby impacting on neurogenesis and leaving an individual more susceptible to depression.

Using the pharmacological compound GSK650394, the researchers were able to inhibit SGK1, blocking the effects of stress and helping to increase the number of new cells being produced in the brain.

The findings were confirmed by studying SGK1 levels in animal models and human blood samples of 25 drug-free depressed patients.

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