Researchers have found that the mitochondria in depressed patients become “closed” and produce less energy. That could be the reason of some depression symptoms as lethargy, lack of concentration and energy loss.
The biological basis of depression are still largely in the unknown. To date were changes of neurotransmitters in the brain as the most important biological abnormality of mental illness. Now a research team wanted to find the functions of mitochondria (the energy supplier of cells) that play a role in the development of disease.
The study were included 44 women aged from 50 to 69 years. In a Half of the subjects had been diagnosed acute depression, the other half never had been in depression. All participants were interviewed by the researchers according to their lifestyle and major life events. In order to detect the activity of the mitochondria, scientists was carried out a respirometer measurements of the blood samples. In this case has been detected the consumption of the oxygen, which in turn is a sign for the production of energy in form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Adenosine triphosphate in the cells of a living organism is the most important form for storage of energy.
Reduced of efficiency in mitochondria leads to depression.
In fact, it was found that the efficiency of mitochondria in depressed patients compared to the healthy participants of study was reduced and that loss of cellular energy in the form of ATP is makes occur of depression more likely. In addition, the decrease of energy production in mitochondria related with the severity of the disease.
The lack of energy in the cells could be, according to the explanation of researchers, an individual symptoms such as lethargy and can affect the expression of depression. The scientists are hope that their findings contribute to improvement of the medical treatment of depression.
It should be noted, that in investigation took a part only a small study group with few participants. In addition, confounding factors may have influenced the result. So the BMI and consumption of cigarette in diseased patients were compared with the control group. Now further investigation should confirm the results.