Foundation Grantees Jun Z. Li, Ph.D., Simon J. Evans, Ph.D. and Stanley J. Watson, M.D., Ph.D. and Foundation Scientific Council Members Huda Akil, Ph.D., Jack D. Barchas, M.D., Alan F. Schatzberg, M.D., and William E. Bunney, Jr., M.D. went beyond previous research that used animal or human skin cells to analyze post-mortem brain tissue.
Foundation Scientific Council Member Huda Akil, Ph.D., the co-director of the U-M Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute and co-director of the U-M site of the Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Disorders Research Consortium, says of the team's findings:"Hundreds of new genes that are very sensitive to circadian rhythms emerged from this research -- not just the primary clock genes that have been studied in animals or cell cultures, but other genes whose activity rises and falls throughout the day," she says.
"We were truly able to watch the daily rhythm play out in a symphony of biological activity, by studying where the clock had stopped at the time of death.
And then, in depressed people, we could see how this was disrupted."
adds, scientists can use this information to potentially identify biomarkers?or biological predictors?for depression that can be found in blood, skin or hair samples.