Schizophrenia is considered one of the most devastating of the major psychiatric disorders, which has three distinct facets, often referred to as “positive” (hallucinations, delusions), “negative” (blunted emotions, reduced capacity for pleasure), and “cognitive” (impairments in attention, memory, and problem-solving) symptoms. The cognitive impairments associated with schizophrenia are the aspect of this disorder most strongly associated with the inability to function in the workplace.
The medications currently approved to treat schizophrenia block a subclass of dopamine receptors (dopamine D2 receptors). They have limited efficacy in treating the negative and cognitive symptoms of this disorder and they are frequently associated with significant side effects. “Hence, there is an acute need to develop alternative treatments for schizophrenia that have fewer side effects and are more effective in treating cognitive and negative symptoms of the disorder,” according to the authors of this study, scheduled for publication in Biological Psychiatry on October 1st.
“Multidisciplinary work has led to the emergence of the glutamate system as a promising therapeutic target for [the] treatment of schizophrenia,” says Bita Moghaddam, Ph.D., the corresponding author on the study. Abnormal function of brain circuits that utilize glutamate as a chemical messenger, particularly in brain regions including the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, has been implicated in the cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia. The glutamate-related circuit dysfunction associated with schizophrenia may be modeled, to a meaningful extent, by blocking the NMDA subtype of glutamate receptor. The authors now report that by administering 3-cyano-N-(1,3-diphenyl-1H-pyrazol-5-yl)benzamide or CDPPB, a drug that stimulates another type of glutamate receptor, the metabotropic glutamate 5 receptor (mGluR5), they can normalize abnormalities in prefrontal cortical function produced by blocking the NMDA glutamate receptor. In other words, CDPPB appears to “treat” an abnormality in brain function that may resemble aspects of schizophrenia.
Dr. Moghaddam comments, “This work is significant because it shows that in an awake behaving mammal (as opposed to in tissue cultures or similar preparation), activation of these receptors has a normalizing effect on the spontaneous activity of prefrontal cortex neurons.” John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and affiliated with both Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, adds, “These exciting new data provide important new evidence supporting the testing of mGluR5 stimulating medications for the treatment of schizophrenia, particularly cognitive deficits associated with impairments in the function of the prefrontal cortex. It would be very interesting to know whether this class of medication reduces the transient impairments in cognitive function associated with the administration of NMDA receptor blockers to humans.” Although the authors acknowledge that much more research is needed to evaluate the clinical impact of this treatment approach, this study indicates a “promising therapeutic potential” that could ultimately result in making improved treatments available to patients struggling with this illness.
Jayne Dawkins | alfa
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Life Sciences