Anxious Mice and Men

Science's STKE  10 Oct 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 356, pp. tw349
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3562006tw349

The genes that contribute to depression and anxiety disorders are still unknown, but the recently discovered single-nucleotide polymorphism (Val66Met) in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene may be related to mood and anxiety disorders common in human populations. Chen et al. report that, in transgenic mice expressing the variant BDNFMet version, there are alterations in brain anatomy and memory as has been described in humans. This allelic variant also reproduces the phenotypic hallmarks of anxiety in humans, but these mutant mice did not respond to a common, widely used antidepressant.

Z.-Y. Chen, D. Jing, K. G. Bath, A. Ieraci, T. Khan, C.-J. Siao, D. G. Herrera, M. Toth, C. Yang, B. S. McEwen, B. L. Hempstead, F. S. Lee, Genetic variant BDNF (Val66Met) polymorphism alters anxiety-related behavior. Science 314, 140-143 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]