Novel gene target reveals antidepressant mechanism of electroconvulsive therapy

Written by Roisin Conneely

A study from John Hopkins Medicine (MD, USA) has demonstrated that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may aid depression symptoms by acting upon a novel target, the immediate early gene Narp within the hippocampus. Previous work has highlighted how genes, including Narp, are turned on in the hippocampus within minutes of ECT. The team utilized healthy mice and genetically engineered Narp knockouts to compare the influence of the encoded NARP protein during ECT. The two groups were given ECT and then subjected to the forced swim test, a behavioural test to assess depression levels, as more depressed mice will spend longer periods...

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