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Depression treatment research could mean more effective option

A protein found in the brain called CK2 has been identified as an important factor in decreasing depressive and anxious feelings if manipulated correctly.

Most antidepressants on the market are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs — such as Fluoxetine (Prozac) or Sertraline (Zoloft).

A new study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry explains that people have 14 different types of serotonin receptors, and scientists are unsure of which one communicates with SSRI drugs, leaving many people susceptible to failed drug therapy.

But researchers at The City College of New York discovered that the CK2 protein can successfully interact with one specific serotonin receptor, 5-HT4, and proved effective in relieving feelings of depression.

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“Identifying new targets broadens our understanding about the cause of depression as well as the mechanism of action of antidepressants,” the study’s lead author Julia Castello said in a statement.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people suffer from depression around the world and the antidepressant drugs currently available only work for about half of them. These findings from Castello and her team at the CUNY Graduate Center could, potentially, mean treatment options for millions of people.

“(CK2 manipulation) could lead to the formulation of new antidepressants that work more efficiently and faster for more people,” Castello said.

health studies
mental health

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