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.
Barik, J. et al., Chronic Stress Triggers Social Aversion via Glucocorticoid Receptor in Dopaminoceptive Neurons. Science, 18 January 2013.