The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, found that animals with multiple copies of the Glo1 gene were more likely to exhibit anxiety-like behavior in laboratory tests. Further experiments showed that Glo1 increased anxiety-like behavior by lowering levels of methylglyoxal (MG). Conversely, inhibiting Glo1 or raising MG levels reduced anxiety behaviors.
"Animals transgenic for Glo1 had different levels of anxiety-like behavior, and more copies made them more anxious," said Abraham Palmer, PhD, assistant professor of human genetics at the University of Chicago Medicine and senior author of the study. "We showed that Glo1 was causally related to anxiety-like behavior, rather than merely correlated."