Dr. Hugo Pellufo’s group in Uruguay (left) and Dr. Manuella P. Kaster’s group in Brazil (right)

Two young research groups, one in Brazil and one in Uruguay, connected through an IBRO-LARC Short Stay Grant and the IBRO-LARC PROLAB program. This new collaboration resulted in the publication, “CD300f immunoreceptor is associated with major depressive disorder and decreased microglial metabolic fitness” in PNAS.

Graphical abstract

The paper, which was part of Fernanda Kaufmann’s Ph.D. thesis in the Biochemistry Graduation Program at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil, came out of a collaboration between Dr. Manuella P. Kaster’s group at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, in Brazil, and the group of Dr. Hugo Pellufo at the Pasteur Institut and UDELAR in Uruguay.

They discovered that a prevalent single-nucleotide polymorphism of the human CD300f immune receptor alters its signalling and is associated with protection against MDD in women but not in men. Interestingly, CD300f-deficient female, but not male, mice displayed depressive-like behaviours.

In these mice, the absence of CD300f induced phenotypical changes of microglial cells that altered their metabolic fitness. Despite the high incidence of MDD, no effective treatments are available in many cases, and these discoveries could lead to the development of new pipelines for drugs targeting microglial cells, perivascular macrophages, and in particular the CD300f immune receptor.

Neuron marked with MAP2 in blue, vGlut1 in green (presynaptic marker) and Homer in red (postsynaptic marker). The authors evaluated the synaptic contacts in CD300f Knockout animals.