OHSU

Depression

DepressionDepression: individual treatment, global progress.


Forty million Americans will suffer from depression during their lifetime, and ten percent of pregnancies develop into the debilitating condition known as post-partum depression. Left untreated, these disorders can disrupt a person’s ability to function, compromise their immunity and wreak havoc on their families’ lives.

But to develop effective treatments, we must first understand the causes.

That’s why researchers at the ONPRC are tapping into the early triggers of anxiety and depression. By investigating the interplay between genetic and environmental factors, we can create breakthrough medicines and therapies that help children and adults across the world.

ONPRC scientists are making constant progress in uncovering the mechanisms of the human brain. We are examining the possible links between post-partum depression and estrogen levels, how hormones predispose infants to depression and anxiety, and what effects serotonin levels have on behavior and mood.

These advances are changing the way we assess and handle these conditions—taking us closer to treatments that are tailor-made to specific causes and reducing the potential for negative side-effects.

Serotonin Neuron 

ONPRC scientists are investigating hormone activities in serotonin neurons that regulate mood.


Serotonin Neuron
This diagram shows estrogen (E) binding to ERb, which is one form of the estrogen receptor.  ERb  changes gene expression and also turns on the production of the progesterone receptor (PR). Progesterone (P) binds to PR which then also participates in changing gene expression.