Young Brain Cells Silence Old Ones to Quash Anxiety

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le 21 juillet 2018

[ARTICLE DE THE SCIENTIST] L'expertise du Prof. Belzung en neuroscience a été sollicitée par la journaliste Ruth Willliams

In adult mice, neurogenesis increases social confidence by suppressing the activity of mature neurons

If youngsters told their elders to be quiet, stress levels would surely rise. But, when it comes to brain cells, it seems the opposite is true—silencing of old neurons by young ones appears to make an animal more stress resilient. A report today (June 27) in Nature [C. Anacker et al., “Hippocampal neurogenesis confers stress resilience by inhibiting the ventral dentate gyrus,” Nature, doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0262-4, 2018] shows that mice whose production of new hippocampal neurons was ramped up suffered less anxiety in a stressful social situation than their control counterparts, and this was thanks to an increased inhibition of mature hippocampal cells [Read more].

In humans, stress and anxiety disorders are extremely common, with an estimated 5 to 30 percent of people being affected at some point in their lives. Antidepressants are the standard treatment, but, “50 percent of patients do not respond,” says depression specialist and neuroscientist Catherine Belzung of the University of Tours in France who was not involved in the research. In short, “we need to find other targets,” she says.

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