New theory may explain cause of depression and improve treatments

A new area in depression research suggests dysfunction in mitochondria — the main source of energy for cells — could lead to major depression. Published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, this new insight to long-held theories on the causes of depression could lead to the development of novel and more effective antidepressant drugs.

Depression is a highly prevalent disorder affecting up to 20% of the population. It is commonly thought to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, yet the specific biological mechanisms which lead to depression are not fully understood.

“Until now, most theories about the biological causes of depression have focused on the idea that depression is caused by an imbalance in neurotransmitters like serotonin,” says Dr Lisa E. Kalynchuk, co-author of the review from the University of Victoria, Canada.

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