Researchers at the Laboratory of Cerebrovascular Disease at Nanjing Medical University in Nanjing, China have recently concluded that depression-related mood swings are directly related to the production of telomerase in the hippocampus, though telomerase’s role in depression remains unclear. Telomerase is a type of RNA which repairs and elongates telomeres on the ends of DNA strands, which in turn can be attributed to many health benefits.
When telomerase production was inhibited in mice, it resulted in the mice showing depression-like behaviors. In turn, when telomerase was over-produced in mice’s brains, they consequentially showed antidepressant-like behaviors. These results suggest that hippocampal telomerase is involved in the modulation of depression-related behaviors, though how it exactly affects depression is not yet known.