About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

New Class of Fast-acting Antidepressant Discovered

by Sheela Philomena on October 30, 2013 at 2:39 PM
Font : A-A+

 New Class of Fast-acting Antidepressant Discovered

Blocking a serotonin receptor subtype induces fast-acting antidepressant effects in mice, say researchers. Findings indicate a potential new class of therapeutics for depression.

"One of the biggest problems in the treatment of depression today is a delay in onset of therapeutic effects. There has been a great need to discover faster-acting drugs," said Stephanie Dulawa, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago and senior author of the study.

Advertisement

Delayed onset of antidepressant therapeutics can significantly impact patients, especially those with major depressive disorder, who often spend months switching between ineffective medications. Currently, only two drugs—ketamine and scopolamine—exhibit rapid onset. Due to severe side effects, however, neither is suitable for human use.

In seeking a new class of fast-acting therapeutics, Dulawa and her team tested biological pathways that had previously been shown to generate antidepressant effects but had never been studied for rate of onset. They looked at different subtypes of serotonin receptors, proteins that are binding partners for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has been shown to regulate mood, memory and appetite.
Advertisement

Of these subtypes, serotonin 2C receptors stood out. Selectively blocking these receptors in mice significantly reduced depression-like behaviors in only five days, compared to a minimum of two weeks for a control antidepressant medication.

"We observed fast-acting therapeutic effects in multiple behavioral tasks after we administered compounds that selectively block serotonin 2C receptors," said Mark Opal, a graduate student at the University of Chicago and lead author of the paper. "We began our measurements at five days, but we think there's a possibility it could be effective even sooner than that."

Serotonin 2C receptors normally inhibit the release of dopamine, another neurotransmitter commonly associated with mood, from certain neurons. When 2C is blocked, the researchers believe, more dopamine is released into regions of the brain such as the prefrontal cortex. The team also observed the induction of biomarkers that indicate antidepressant action.

This is the first new biological mechanism that has shown the ability to rapidly alleviate symptoms of depression since ketamine and scopolamine, and it potentially represents a much safer alternative. Some current antidepressants on the market already affect serotonin 2C receptors, although not selectively, and Dulawa believes the safety profile is favorable for human use. The team is now investigating compounds suitable for clinical trials.

"One of the primary advantages to our discovery is that this is much more of an innocuous target than others that have been identified," Dulawa said.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Printed Temperature Sensors help with Continuous Temperature Monitoring
Health Benefits of Giloy
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 - It's time to RISE
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Adolescence Depression Antidepressants 

Recommended Reading
Holistic Management for Depression
Depression is a common disorder and many worldwide suffer from depression. Early recognition of ......
Quiz on Depression
The World Health Organization reports that depression is one of the main causes of disability ......
Depression Calculator
A quick, simple and anonymous self-assessment health tool to assess the level of depression using .....
Foods to Beat Depression
Depression can be a severe mental health problem that can lead to other health issues. Find top ......

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use