Navigation Links
Countering brain chemical could prevent suicides
Date:12/14/2012

EAST LANSING, Mich. --- Researchers have found the first proof that a chemical in the brain called glutamate is linked to suicidal behavior, offering new hope for efforts to prevent people from taking their own lives.

Writing in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, Michigan State University's Lena Brundin and an international team of co-investigators present the first evidence that glutamate is more active in the brains of people who attempt suicide. Glutamate is an amino acid that sends signals between nerve cells and has long been a suspect in the search for chemical causes of depression.

"The findings are important because they show a mechanism of disease in patients," said Brundin, an associate professor of experimental psychiatry in MSU's College of Human Medicine. "There's been a lot of focus on another neurotransmitter called serotonin for about 40 years now. The conclusion from our paper is that we need to turn some of that focus to glutamate."

Brundin and colleagues examined glutamate activity by measuring quinolinic acid -- which flips a chemical switch that makes glutamate send more signals to nearby cells -- in the spinal fluid of 100 patients in Sweden. About two-thirds of the participants were admitted to a hospital after attempting suicide and the rest were healthy.

They found that suicide attempters had more than twice as much quinolinic acid in their spinal fluid as the healthy people, which indicated increased glutamate signaling between nerve cells. Those who reported the strongest desire to kill themselves also had the highest levels of the acid.

The results also showed decreased quinolinic acid levels among a subset of patients who came back six months later, when their suicidal behavior had ended.

The findings explain why earlier research has pointed to inflammation in the brain as a risk factor for suicide. The body produces quinolinic acid as part of the immune response that creates inflammation.

Brundin said anti-glutamate drugs are still in development, but could soon offer a promising tool for preventing suicide. In fact, recent clinical studies have shown the anesthetic ketamine -- which inhibits glutamate signaling -- to be extremely effective in fighting depression, though its side effects prevent it from being used widely today.

In the meantime, Brundin said physicians should be aware of inflammation as a likely trigger for suicidal behavior. She is partnering with doctors in Grand Rapids, Mich., to design clinical trials using anti-inflammatory drugs.

"In the future, it's likely that blood samples from suicidal and depressive patients will be screened for inflammation," Brundin said. "It is important that primary health care physicians and psychiatrists work closely together on this."


'/>"/>

Contact: Andy McGlashen
andy.mcglashen@cabs.msu.edu
517-355-5158
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. MicroRNA-218 targets medulloblastoma, most aggressive childhood brain cancer
2. Pan-European organizations call for an advanced understanding of the human brain
3. Does the brain become unglued in autism?
4. How the common cat parasite gets into the brain
5. Research shows immune system response is detrimental to novel brain cancer therapy
6. Musical duets lock brains as well as rhythms
7. Double duty: Immune system regulator found to protect brain from effects of stroke
8. University of Maryland School of Medicine, NIH study pinpoints brain areas role in learning
9. Multiple sclerosis immune exchange between brain and blood is uncovered
10. A 3-D light switch for the brain
11. Neurons made from stem cells drive brain activity after transplantation in laboratory model
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/24/2017)... , Mar 24, 2017 Research and ... Access System Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" ... ... to grow at a CAGR of around 15.1% over the next ... This industry report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for all ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 21, 2017 Optimove , provider ... retailers such as 1-800-Flowers and AdoreMe, today announced ... and Replenishment. Using Optimove,s machine learning algorithms, these ... and replenishment recommendations to their customers based not ... of customer intent drawn from a complex web ...
(Date:3/16/2017)... - Against identity fraud with DERMALOG solutions "Made in Germany "  ... ... multi-biometric solutions provide a crucial contribution against identity fraud. (PRNewsFoto/Dermalog Identification Systems) ... Used combined in one project, multi-biometric solutions provide a crucial contribution against identity ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... ... A recent survey conducted by the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) ... categories of broadleaf crops, fruits and vegetables, while common lambsquarters ranks as the weed ... in the 2016 survey, the second conducted by WSSA. A 2015 baseline survey ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... A ... in San Diego, California, this August will feature high-level speakers on quantum devices, ... , SPIE Optics and Photonics, the largest multidisciplinary optical sciences meeting in North ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... 23, 2017 , ... Bacterial biofilms, surface adherent communities of bacteria that are ... from food poisoning and catheter infections to gum disease and the rejection of medical ... of dollars per year, there is currently a paucity of means for preventing their ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... other leaders of the Maryland Biohealth community in developing and issuing recommendations to ... 3 U.S. BioHealth Innovation Hub by 2023. , The recommendations ...
Breaking Biology Technology: