• Can Chromatography Help with Stress-Induced Depression?


Can Chromatography Help with Stress-Induced Depression?

Sep 01 2018

With seemingly ever higher numbers of people being diagnosed with mental health illnesses, there is a need to find treatments that can effectively relieve the symptoms and help sufferers find a way of dealing with the various conditions. Mental illness accounts for almost half of all sick-days from work, with the cost to the UK exchequer estimated at over £27 billion – not including NHS costs. The overall cost to the UK economy is estimated at £105 billion – a significant increase over the last 15 years.

One such illness is depression. Depression exerts a high price on both individuals and society. The personal costs of depression which can be devastating, a low estimate is that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in their lives. Looking for new treatments for various types of depression is critical to help individuals and reduce the burden on society. A recent paper in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research has investigated the use of a three-drug combination in the treatment of stress induced depression.

Reuptake inhibitors lead the way

Many of the pharmaceutical treatments of depression focus on the use of drugs that affects how neurotransmitters work in the brain. The basic premise is that patients suffering with depression don’t have enough of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical agents that facilitate signals between nerve synapses. The class of drugs known as reuptake inhibitors bind with neurotransmitter receptors in the brain and stop certain neurotransmitters from being absorbed. This change in brain chemistry has been shown to be effective in some people in treating low mood and depression.

Drugs of choice

In the study referenced above – Evaluation of the Efficacy of Combination Therapy of Agomelatine, Duloxetine and Sertraline in the Management of Stress Induced Depression – the Indian researchers tested the effectiveness of drugs in animal studies. The three drugs they used - Sertraline primarily a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Duloxetine is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor and Agomelatine an antagonist that affects receptors – are all individually used as treatments for depression.

They used the drugs in a combination and subjected the mice to different stressors. They analysed the parts of the brain associated with depression using chromatography to measure the monoamine levels - neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. The use of chromatography to explore the effects of drugs in the body is discussed in the article, The Use of Circular Dichroism Detection in UHPLC to Determine Enantiomeric Ratios without Peak Resolution.

The team found that the three-drug combination had an effect on the brains of the mice used when compared to a control group, with increased neurotransmitters in the areas of the brain they analysed. They state: These findings could be further probed with the aim of understanding the interaction between agomelatine plus duloxetine plus sertraline as a future endeavour.

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