Findings may lead to new drug targets for treating schizophrenia
A mouse study reported in this weeks Science magazine shows that three drugs, each acting on a different chemical transmitter in the brain, all produce the same schizophrenia-like symptoms by acting on a single "master molecule" in the brain.
The findings, reported by researchers at Rockefeller University with collaboration from three pharmaceutical and biotech companies, provides, for the first time, a cellular model detailing how this crucial protein, known as DARPP-32, interacts with multiple neurotransmitter systems to produce behavior.
The scientists demonstrate that DARPP-32 acts like the thin neck in an hourglass, through which all signals taken into a nerve cell must pass and be processed, producing a wide variety of biochemical reactions. In this case, three different drugs of abuse, LSD, PCP ("angel dust") and amphetamine, work on three different neurotransmitters, serotonin, glutamate, and dopamine, respectively. All three drugs, which are classified as psychotomimetics or psychostimulants, are processed within the DARPP-32 hourglass neck through the same pathway, thus producing very similar physiological symptoms.
Joseph Bonner | EurekAlert!
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