Suicide Victims Found to Have Abnormal Brain Cells
Changes toِ someِ ofِ the star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes mayِ play a role inِ depression, a newِ study finds.
The researchers focused onِ a part ofِ the brain involved inِ mood regulation andِ decision making, called theِ anterior cingulate cortex.
These differences showed upِ onlyِ inِ the brains’ white matter, notِ gray matter.
Astrocytes belong toِ a group ofِ brain cells knownِ asِ glial cells.
(Glia isِ Greek forِ glue.) For mostِ of theِ previous century, glial cells wereِ thought toِ beِ minor players inِ brain activity, providing structural andِ nutritional support forِ neurons, whichِ wereِ thought toِ doِ the heavy lifting.
Mechawar andِ colleagues obtained brain samples fromِ 10 people whoِ hadِ committed suicide whileِ suffering depressive episodes, andِ from 10 otherِ deceased people, whichِ served asِ a control group.
Inflammation in the brain
The researchers saidِ the astrocytes mayِ haveِ changed inِ reaction toِ a change inِ their environment – specifically, inflammation inِ the brain.
The newِ study adds weight toِ what isِ called theِ neuroinflammatory theory ofِ depression.
This theory posits thatِ molecules involved inِ inflammation play a role inِ the development ofِ depressive symptoms.