One of the mechanisms involved in the onset of stress-induced depression has been highlighted in mice by researchers from CNRS, Inserm and UPMC.
They have determined the role of the corticosterone (stress hormone) receptor, in the long-term behavioral change triggered by chronic stress.
In mice subject to repeated aggressions, this receptor participates in the development of social aversion by controlling the release of dopamine, a key chemical messenger.
If this receptor is blocked, the animals become "resilient": although anxious, they overcome the trauma and no longer avoid contact with their fellow creatures.
This work is published in Science on 18 January 2013.
More information: Barik, J. et al., Chronic Stress Triggers Social Aversion via Glucocorticoid Receptor in Dopaminoceptive Neurons. Science, 18 January 2013.