Projects per year
Depression is estimated to affect 1 in 6 UK adults at any one time. The likelihood of developing depression is influenced by genetic factors and by lifetime experience and environmental factors. However, the molecular basis of these diseases is not well understood.
Current first-line treatments for depression include the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs, e.g. Prozac). While these drugs are effective in up to 50% of the population this means that there is a huge unmet medical need to develop more effective treatments. In addition, there is a delay in when the SSRIs start to take effect and there are significant side effects.
In my lab we are using a combination of behavioural, electrophysiological and molecular techniques to learn more about the molecular mechanisms involved in the response to stress and the development of depression. This knowledge will help us develop new antidepressant drugs. Current research focuses on two inter-related aspects of depression.
Kappa opioid receptors
Dynorphin is a peptide in the brain that is released in response to stress. Dynorphin acts at kappa opioid receptors (KOR). KOR expression is high in brain regions involved in the control of mood and the response to stress. Activating these receptors produces low mood in humans and aversive responses in rodents. Blocking KOR with antagonists has potential as an antidepressant treatment. In collaboration with Prof Husband's group, we are examining the role of KOR in the response to stress and developing novel KOR ligands with antidepressant potential. We are also investigating the influence of age and sex on the response to stress and KOR activation.
Neuroinflammation and depression
Following a bacterial or viral infection, people experience changes in mood, appetite and interest in their environment that resemble depression. These symptoms are mediated by chemicals called cytokines that trigger inflammation as part of the body's normal response to infection.
In animal studies, exposure to an inflammatory challenge (e.g. an infection) causes inflammation in both the body and the brain. In the brain, microglial cells release cytokines. This has led to the idea that cytokines can trigger major depression.
We are investigating the role of the inflammasome - a protein complex in microglia that is required for cytokine activation - in the brain in response to inflammatory challenge using a combination of biochemical measures, in vitro cultured cells and animal studies.
Willing to supervise doctoral students
Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):
Secretary for Non-clinical External Affairs, British Association for Psychopharmacology
2017 → 2021
Member of Policy & Public Engagement Committee, British Pharmacological Society
2017 → 2020
Member of Animal Welfare and In Vivo Pharmacology Committee, British Pharmacological Society
2014 → 2019
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1/06/15 → 30/06/16
Project: Research council
17/09/07 → 16/09/10
Project: Research council
Lalji, H. M., McGrogan, A. & Bailey, S., 31 Dec 2021, In: Journal of Affective Disorders Reports. 6, 100205.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile15 Downloads (Pure)
Alzokeim, N., Bailey, S., Watson, M. L. & Smirnov, S., 6 Sep 2021, p. P014.
Research output: Contribution to conference › Abstract › peer-review
Ketamine increases proliferation of human iPSC-derived neuronal progenitor cells via insulin-like growth factor 2 and independent of the NMDA receptorGrossert, A., Mehrjardi, N. Z., Bailey, S., Lindsay, M., Hescheler, J., Saric, T. & Teusch, N., 24 Sep 2019, In: Cells. 8, 10, 1139.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen Access3 Citations (SciVal)
Antidepressant-like effects of BU10119, a novel buprenorphine analogue with mixed κ/μ receptor antagonist properties, in miceAlmatroudi, A. M. I., Ostovar, M., Bailey, C., Husbands, S. & Bailey, S., 1 Jul 2018, In: British Journal of Pharmacology. 175, 14, p. 2869-2880 12 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile14 Citations (SciVal)76 Downloads (Pure)
Effects of kappa opioid receptor agonists and acute stress on brain regions implicated in the response to stress and drugs of abuseMa, Q., Wonnacott, S., Bailey, S. & Bailey, C., 1 Aug 2018, In: Journal of Psychopharmacology . 32, 8 (Supplement), p. A124
Research output: Contribution to journal › Meeting abstract › peer-review