New Study May Bring Scientists Closer to Gene Responsible for Anxiety Disorders
Many people with anxiety disorders have a close family member that also suffers from anxiety indicating anxiety may be highly inheritable or "in the genes." A new study completed at The Rockefeller University may show that indeed, anxiety is in the genes.
Using mice in their research, scientists inactivated a particular gene, Lynx2, and watched the behavior of the mice compared to mice that still had this gene activated. The researched observed mice with the Lynx2 gene deactivated were more jittery. They hid in dark spaces rather than socialize with other mice and were slower to explore the area.
When the brains of these mice were tested, it was found that the neurons within the medial prefrontal cortex (the same area active in people diagnosed with anxiety) were more active. Researchers believe this may give insight into human anxiety.
The scientists conducting the study will continue their research by making other genes inactive, allowing them to be more specific as to the source of anxiety in people. This research, if successful, could eventually allow scientists to discover a more effective treatment for anxiety and social phobias.
For more information:
Rockefeller University (2009, March 1). Gene Linked To Anxious Behavior In Mice, Science Daily