Emory Report
February 18, 2008
Volume 60, Number 20

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February 18, 2008
Genes can protect against depression

By Quinn Eastman

People abused as children who carried the most protective forms of a stress-controlling gene had markedly lower measures of depression, compared with people with less protective forms, psychiatrists have found.
The study was conducted by Kerry Ressler and Joseph Cubells, with Elisabeth Binder, of the School of Medicine and Rebekah Bradley, Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

People with a history of moderate or severe child abuse had depression symptoms that averaged about double the level of those with low or mild child abuse scores.

People who had inherited two copies of the most protective forms of the gene, called corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor one (CRHR1), had average depression symptoms about half those of people who had not inherited those gene forms.

The research supports evidence that corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and related hormones play a role in depression.