ReNeuron (LSE: RENE.L) Stem cell line used to make new brain cells
RENE.L’s human neural stem cell lines show for the first time, a clinically relevant model how anti-depressant drugs make new brain cells.
In the journal, Molecular Psychiatry, researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London used RENE’s human hippocampal stem cells as a new model to investigate “in a dish” the effects of anti-depressants on brain cells.
The study showed that anti-depressants produce more stem cells and accelerate their development into adult brain cells. This process is due to a protein in the cell, the glucocorticoid receptor, being activated by the anti-depressants, switching on particular genes that turn immature stem cells into mature, adult brain cells.
The Bottom Line: This novel stem cell system used in this study can be deployed in the future to model psychiatric illnesses in the laboratory and assist in the development of more effective, targeted anti-depressant drugs. By stimulating neurogenesis (the production of new brain cells), anti-depressants counteract the damaging effects of stress hormones which are elevated in depressed patients and thereby help to overcome the debilitating psychological symptoms of depression.