Study Provides Clue on How a New Class of Antidepressants Works

New York, NY (Scicasts) — A new class of drugs under development to treat depression has shown some success by targeting brain cells’ ability to respond to the chemical messenger glutamate. But the mechanism by which these experimental therapies work has remained unknown. The recent discovery, by a Rockefeller University-led team, of a molecular amplification system helps explain how the drugs alter brain signalling in particular neurons, and so produce an antidepressant effect. The results, published September 15 in Molecular Psychiatry, centre on a signal receptor known as mGluR5 found on neurons. “Our experiments suggest that mGluR5 amplifies the cellular response to a chemical signal, and that by blocking mGlur5 receptors in inhibitory neurons involved in depression, these new therapies can achieve an antidepressant effect,” says senior author Paul Greengard,…


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