Israeli and American researchers have teamed up to prove depression tendencies in individuals exposed to prolonged periods of stress.

The study was conducted between the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Colorado, in an effort to show how depression patients are affected by stress.

The scientists discovered a cell known as the microglia can be responsible for depression in patients under duress. Prior research has focused almost exclusively on stress-depression as it relates to the brain’s neurons.

“What’s new here is that until now, biology-based research on depression focused on studying the functioning of neurons, which have been the focus of brain research for the last 100 years,” Professor Raz Yirmiya of the Hebrew University told Haaretz.

“We’re saying that there’s another type of cell, the microglia, which apparently has a very important causal role in at least some types of depression.”

Additionally, the team realized using new drug types to stimulate the microglia produces positive effects in stabilizing symptoms of depression, which could mean big repercussions for the antidepressant industry.

Results of the study were published this week in the Molecular Psychiatry journal.

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