Depression

BDNF has been implicated in both the pathogenesis of depression and the therapeutic action of many anti depression treatments. However, how BDNF is involved in these processes is currently unclear. In this proposal, by using the tTA/tetO inducible gene manipulation system, Dr. Tang and his lab have generated a specific BDNF transgenic mouse strain, in which the overexpression of BDNF is both forebrain-specific and controllable. With this mouse model, they plan to determine whether the effect of BDNFon anti depression is due to an acute effect or a chronic effect of BDNF overexpression by turning its expression on or off during the different behavioral processes. Furthermore, by determining whether there is an association between the effects of BDNF overexpression on synaptogenesis and the effects of BDNF overexpression on antidepressive behaviors, they are able to establish the role of BDNF-mediated synaptogenesis in anti-depression.
The effects of currently available medications for major depression are very limited, which makes it still a major medical or social problem in this country. It is Dr. Tang’s expectation that this study may provide important evidence to show how BDNF, or how BDNF-mediated synaptogenesis, is involved in anti depression. The determination of the role of BDNF-mediated synaptogenesis in anti-depression is of fundamental interest in finding a new therapeutic strategy for depression, which may eventually lead to successfully prevent or cure this major mental illness..

Other Grants

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
The Role of Microglial Lysosomes in Selective Neuronal Vulnerability
Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
How the Nervous System Constructs Internal Models of the External World
As animals navigate their environments, they construct internal models of the external sensory world and use these models to guide their behavior. This ability to incorporate ongoing sensory stimuli into…
Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Conducting the Orchestra of Movement—Functional Role of Striatal Astrocytes in Health and Disease
Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…