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How social isolation may increase stress

IANS  |  New York 

Researchers have found that cause the build-up of a in the brain, that increases stress, and

The mice isolated for two weeks showed behavioural changes like, increased aggressiveness towards unfamiliar mice, persistent fear, and to threatening stimuli.

When encountering a threatening stimulus, mice that have been socially isolated remain frozen in place long after the threat has passed, whereas normal mice stop freezing soon after the threat is removed, the research said.

Although the study was done in mice, it has potential implications for understanding how chronic affects humans and has for treating mental health disorders, said Moriel Zelikowsky, postdoctoral scholar at the in the US.

Previous studies have determined that social isolation for two weeks in mice resulted in the upregulation of the signalling molecule neuropeptide, tachykinin 2 (Tac2)/neurokinin B (NkB) -- a short protein molecule.

In the new study, published in the journal Cell, the team found that leads to an increase in Tac2 and the production of a neuropeptide called neurokinin B (NkB) throughout the brain.

But, administration of a drug that chemically blocks NkB-specific receptors enabled the stressed mice to behave normally, eliminating the negative effects of social isolation.

On the other hand, artificially increasing Tac2 levels and activating the corresponding neurons in normal, animals led them to behave like isolated and stressed, the research showed.

Suppressing the Tac2 gene in certain different brain parts, increased behaviours, or accordingly, implying that it must increase in different brain regions to produce the various effects of social isolation, the researchers said.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 18 2018. 15:24 IST