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Anxiety and Depression Target Identified for Treatment-Resistant Patients

04:49 EST 13 Nov 2017 | Genetic Engineering News

Studies by researchers in the U.S. suggest that a metabolite of progesterone may represent a new therapeutic target for depression and anxiety in otherwise treatment-resistant groups of patients, including those with anorexia nervosa. Collaborating scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Boston University School of Medicine, found low levels of the neuroactive steroid allopregnanolone (3α-5α-tetrahydroprogesterone, or ‘allo’) in both obese women and those with anorexia nervosa, and showed that levels of allo correlated with the severity of depression and anxiety symptoms. “We are beginning to see more and more evidence that low allo levels are tightly linked to depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mood disorders,” comments co-researcher Graziano Pinna, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Illionois at Chicago College of Medicine. “To see women with anorexia nervosa and obesity have low levels adds to the picture that the ...

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