Last Articles

Research uncovers cause for severe anxiety in some children with severe childhood anxiety disorder

Traumatic stress in childhood (TSC) can lead to a lengthy, disabling illness. Individuals with TSC that results in significant disability or death also frequently experience depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse. A group of blood-based biomarkers that differentiate those who experience moderate to severe TSC from those who do not have these disorders by straightening the metabolic centers of the brain have been suggested by researchers.

This research study, conducted by Yooshi Yanagisawa and colleagues at the RIKEN Center for Brain Science (CBS), focuses on a previously unknown metabolic biomarker, which they call S5 (s-5) receptor. S5 receptors are found on the surface of the brain’s cerebral organoids, behaving like stem cells in the body. It has been shown that S5 receptors are activated when fear-related proteins are produced and mixed together to promote behaviors related to acute physiological stress.

In this study, the researchers measured the frequency of S5 activation with PET brain scans in patients with TSC by applying a technique to the SPECT PET brain-scanning platform. Using this method, it was found that cumulative (trackable) PET SPECT SPECT-T magnetic resonance data was successfully acquired to maintain functional human brain imaging, as compared to control subjects. Moreover, high levels of S5 activation were detected in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from TS patients. In addition, the PET dendritic tree of TS patients showed higher numbers of distinct dendritic trees corresponding to higher-order brain functions in regions corresponding to sensory perception, motor control, sight and memory.

Moreover, the results from this study revealed that S5 activation was significantly associated with both the frequency of the quiet phase (not activated) and the rapid, three-step fear-inducing activation of the arousal reflex (attached to the peripheral nerve and not activated at the brain’s surface) in patients who reported not experiencing any symptoms. The frequency of the silent phase was also associated with the brainstem arousal response-the spotless, butterfly-shaped area of the brain associated to arousal.

Ordinarily, activation of monoclonal antibodies – drugs that bind to and interact with certain target receptors – would be considered appropriate treatments for TS patients, as it would render neuroprotective drugs ineffective. However, the findings from this study suggest that S5 activation may serve as an appropriate non-antibody guidance strategy to assist in mitigating self-mutilation in multiple brain areas.

Additionally, the results from this study suggest that a high-sensitivity proteomic analysis, which they defined to be a typical brain prognostic marker based on levels of the proteins with the potential to predict psychiatric outcomes as well as functioning of 31 neuropsychiatric and up to date electrodiagnostic devices, was actually not a good predictor either.

“Study results from our study demonstrate that not only is S5 activation not a true positive prognostic marker. In fact, it may be a useful tool in tox prevention and outcome management, ” commented co-author Julien Lacombe, a post doctorate specialist at CBS Research Institute.