Maura Boldrini, M.D., Ph.D., Columbia University
Standard Research Grant (2008): $63,750
Reduced Plasticity in the Hippocampus of Suicide
Abstract: This study will examine the role of the hippocampus, the brain region that processes emotional memories, in the etiology of suicide among depressed individuals. The investigators hypothesize that as an effect of major depression, the ability of the hippocampus to produce new neurons (neurogenesis) will be limited, and thus that the hippocampus of depressed suicide victims will be smaller in volume and have fewer neurons, compared to normal controls. The study will systematically examine hippocampal tissue from 10 pairs of well-characterized suicides and matched normal controls. If the hypothesis is supported, the study could point to the potential efficacy of new treatments for major depression that aim to stimulate neurogenesis in the hippocampus.