Florence Serres

picture of Florence Serres

Molecular mechanism of depression and antidepressant therapy

In Humans, exposure to traumatic life events and chronic stress can cause a heavy pychological load that can lead to physiopathology such as depression. My research interests focus on better understanding the molecular changes brought about by chonic stress, and how antidepressants act to reverse these changes. Using an animal model of depression (the chronic social defeat model of depression), we aim to identify the genes that are regulated by chronic stress, using techniques such as in situ hybridisation and  immunocytochemistry. We have shown that that the expression of genes involved in the regulation of synaptic plasticity such as BDNF, Arc, Shank, and VGLUT1 is affected by chronic stress. Following chronic stress, animals develop an alteration in their circadiam rhythm of body temperature which prompted us to study the expression of CLOCK genes in chronic stress . More recently,  we have investigated epigenetic regulatory mechanism, looking at how chronic stress alters the methylation status of genes such as BDNF and Arc.