Title: Sex specific mechanisms of depression: Translating therapeutic targets
As a society, we have a tendency to think of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety as “mental illness” and look for treatments that alter brain chemistry and function. Stress is a contributing factor to the onset of these mood disorders. Stress based animal models indicate that individual differences in stress susceptibility are induced through activation or suppression of peripheral processes such as the immune system, gonadal hormones and genetic sex, yet these are generally not considered when developing new treatments for mood disorders. This talk will examine empirical evidence from stress based animal models and human subjects with major depressive disorder that indicate a functional role for the peripheral immune system in vulnerability to stress. Additional research will be presented examining how sex differences in the immune regulation of reward circuitry in the brain further contribute to stress sensitivity or resilience. Connecting peripheral processes with sex specific alterations in the brain provides a potential new template for developing assays to diagnose mood disorders in humans and develop personalized treatments with greater efficacy and fewer off target effects.
Dr. Georgia Hodes is an Assistant Professor in the School of Neuroscience at Virginia Tech.
The event is open to the public.