New Study Explores a Novel Candidate for Antidepressant Therapy

head shot photo of Graduate Center Ph.D. candidate Julia CastelloMore than 300 million people worldwide are affected by major depressive disorder, according to the World Health Organization. Unfortunately, the antidepressants commonly used to treat the illness only work for 50 percent of the population.

A recent paper published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry explores how a protein named CK2 could be playing a key role in changing the antidepressant landscape. The lead author of the paper is Graduate Center Ph.D. candidate Julia Castello (Biochemistry) (pictured at right), who works in Professor Eitan Friedman's (GC/City College, Biochemistry) neuroscience lab.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly used antidepressants. The problem is that there are 14 different types of serotonin receptors, but it is not known which are the mediators of the therapeutic effect of SSRIs. Castello and her team are the first researchers to identify CK2 as a modulator of a serotonin receptor, 5-HT4. Manipulation of CK2 in the brain decreases depressive and anxious states through the 5-HT4 receptor.

“It is very exciting data, even if it’s just a preliminary stage of research,” Castello said. “Identifying new targets broadens our understanding about the cause of depression as well as the action of antidepressants, which could lead to new antidepressants that work more efficiently and faster for more people.”

Photo by Rachel Ramirez. 

Submitted on: FEB 7, 2018

Category: Biochemistry | General GC News | Student News