News items Do gut bacteria interfere with depression?

11 October 2023

NWO has honored research by Judith Homberg and Alejandro Arias Vasquez on the relationship between gut bacteria and depression. The award is part of the ENW-M Open Competition, which is intended for innovative, fundamental research of high quality and/or scientific urgency.


Depression is a common brain disease, initially treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, a significant proportion of patients do not respond to these medications. Because tryptophan, the "raw material" of serotonin, is absorbed from food by the intestines and further processed by bacteria in the intestines, it is plausible that gut bacteria play a role in individual differences in response to the medication. This project investigates this through an ingenious combination of clinical and laboratory animal research, resulting in a possible intervention that may increase response to medication.

This NWO grant allows researchers such as Judith Homberg and Alejandro Arias Vasquez to develop creative, high-risk ideas and create scientific innovations that can form the basis for the research topics of the future.

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Pieter Lomans


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