Just a single bout with severe stress can lead to a more serious chronic condition, according to researchers at Karolinska Institutet, who identified a protein in the brain that is important both for the function of the mood-regulating substance serotonin and for the release of stress hormones, at least in mice.
The findings may have implications for the development of new drugs for depression and anxiety, according to the journal Molecular Psychiatry,
Institute researchers discovered that Serotonin A, the neurotransmitter that regulates our mood, is interdependent on p11, a protein which impacts the level of cortisol and two other stress hormones – adrenaline and noradrenaline.
Low P11 levels in mice have been tied to stronger reactions to stress, higher heart rates and more signs of anxiety.
Low P11 levels in humans are indicators of depression and suicide risk.
The researchers believe that the findings may have implications for the development of new, more effective drugs and treatment, including the ability to block the initiation of the stress hormone response in the brain