Drug Development and Discovery
in the Mind-Body Program
Excessive innate immune (inflammatory) responses may be an important contributor
to the development of major depression (MD). Increased inflammatory immune
responses have been found in patients with MD, and patients treated with innate
immune cytokines for viral infections or cancer often develop key diagnostic
features of MD. As such, a novel treatment approach for MD is to block excessive
innate immune activation.
The studies proposed herein will examine the effectiveness of novel anti-inflammatory compounds
to block inflammation-induced depressive-like behaviors in mice. Mice will be
treated with the bacterial endotoxin, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which induces
robust inflammatory immune activity in the brain as well as depressive-like
behaviors (e.g., reduced preference for sweetened water and decreased social
interaction). Compounds that specifically target relevant inflammatory
signaling pathways including p38 mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK)
and nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB), a lynchpin in the inflammatory signaling
cascade, will be used.
We hypothesize that blocking p38 MAPK and/or NF-kB will prevent LPS-induced
brain inflammatory responses and behavioral changes in mice.
To learn more about active research studies, please click here.