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Quick Uptakes
November 25, 1998

Differences in Depression

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JAMA. 1998;280(20):1735. doi:10.1001/jama.280.20.1735-JQU80008-5-1

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis have linked inherited depression with fewer glial cells in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, a finding that could eventually signal new approaches in drug therapy.

Using samples from the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center, the researchers compared the number of cells in the subgenual prefrontal cortex of mentally healthy people with that of people who had histories of unipolar depression or bipolar disorder. They expected a discrepancy in the number of neurons, but surprisingly, a substantial difference existed in the number of glia: about 9 million in the healthy controls, 7 million in those with familial unipolar depression, and 5.4 million in people with familial bipolar disorder.

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