Naguib Mechawar, Ph.D.

Naguib Mechawar, Ph.D., McGill University

Pilot Research Grant (2008): $20,000

Investigating Glial Cells Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) in the Amygdala of Suicide Victims

Abstract: This postmortem pilot study aims to compare Glial cell line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) signaling in the amygdala of 16 depressed suicide victims and 16 normal controls. GDNF is important in the maintenance of dopaminergic neurons, which may have a significant role in depression and suicidality. The investigator’s hypothesis is that the brain tissue of those who died by suicide will show reduced GDNF signaling and decreased density of GDNF-sensitive amygdala dopamine axons, compared to controls. In addition to opening new research avenues for understanding the neurobiology of suicide, this study may contribute to the development of medications that mimic the function of GDNF. This grant project was supported by Larry and Denise Sprung, through proceeds from the Keith Milano Memorial Golf Outing.