View Full Version : Docs use tetanus to cure depression

08-01-05, 08:40 AM
Health News
Docs use tetanus to cure depression
Jun 15, 2005, 19:00 GMT

BARCELONA, Spain (UPI) -- Toxins that cause tetanus could be useful in treating disorders such as depression, anxiety and anorexia, a Spanish university announced Wednesday.

Researchers from the University of Barcelona, led by Jose Aguilera, studied the possible use of sub-lethal doses of tetanus toxin and its derivatives for use in therapy.

The team said that after 20 years of research the results are "encouraging," said a statement released by the university.

There are two parts to the tetanus toxin molecule. One part causes the toxic effects and the tetanus symptoms. The second harmless part, called the carboxy-terminal domain, has been reproduced in large quantities in the laboratory so that tests can be carried out on its effects on the nervous system of rats.

The experiments have shown that the harmless part inhibits serotonin from being transported through the synaptic membranes, the membranes that connect the neurons so that signals can be sent through the brain

Inhibiting serotonin from reaching nerve endings could help curtail behavior disorders.

Scientists said they also believed the harmless portion of the tetanus toxin could be used as "protection" against neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson`s disease.