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
Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School
Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences