Haydon lab publishes work on role of astrocytes in depression

GliaCure President Phil Haydon’s research laboratory at Tufts University has published a study showing that glia may provide the key to a novel treatment for depression. It has long been known that a total night of sleep deprivation has a fast-acting antidepressant effect; however, the mechanism underlying this effect was not understood. The Haydon group had previously shown that astrocytes regulate responses to sleep deprivation by acting on act on adenosine receptors on neurons. Adenosine is a chemical known to have sleep-inducing effects. In a paper published in the journal Translation Psychiatry (Hines et al, 2013) Haydon’s team report on a new in vivo study in which they were able to mimic these effects of sleep deprivation in animals while still allowing them to sleep. According to Dustin Hines, a postdoctoral researcher in Haydon’s lab, “After only 12 hours, we observed that mice had decreased depressive-like symptoms and increased levels of adenosine in the brain, and these results were sustained for 48 hours.” This publication has already provoked significant interest in the scientific community.