Gregory Ordway, Ph.D.

Gregory Ordway, Ph.D., East Tennessee State University

Distinguished Investigator Grant (2008): $85,000

Glutamatergic Signaling in the Locus Coeruleus in Depression and Suicide

Abstract: This study aims to better understand the biological basis of depression and suicide by examining disruptions in glutamate and norepinephrine transmission. The neurotransmitter glutamate regulates brain noradrenergic activity by providing a major, stress-activated input to the noradrenergic locus coeruleus (LC), the group of brainstem neurons that are the principal source of norepinephrine in the brain. The investigator hypothesizes that glutamatergic transmission in the noradrenergic LC is abnormal in depressed suicide victims, compared to normal control subjects. The study will use laser capture microdissection to selectively collect noradrenergic neurons from the LC of 15 pairs of subjects (suicide victims and matched controls). From these cells, the researchers will examine glutamate receptor gene expression. It is anticipated that findings from the research will point the way to new therapies for depression that will aid in preventing suicide.

Click here to read about the findings from Dr. Ordway's Distinguished Investigator Grant.