Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A potential new class of fast-acting antidepressant

Date:
October 29, 2013
Source:
University of Chicago Medical Center
Summary:
More than 1 in 10 Americans take antidepressants, but these medications can take weeks — and for some patients, months — before they begin to alleviate symptoms. Now, scientists have discovered that selectively blocking a serotonin receptor subtype induces fast-acting antidepressant effects in mice, indicating a potential new class of therapeutics for depression.

More than 1 in 10 Americans take antidepressants, but these medications can take weeks -- and for some patients, months -- before they begin to alleviate symptoms. Now, scientists from the University of Chicago have discovered that selectively blocking a serotonin receptor subtype induces fast-acting antidepressant effects in mice, indicating a potential new class of therapeutics for depression. The work was published Oct. 29 in Molecular Psychiatry.

"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.

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.

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Stephanie Klenotich, Mσnica Morais, Joao Bessa, James Winkle, Demetri Doukas, Leslie Kay, and Nuno Sousa. Serotonin 2C receptor antagonists induce fast-onset antidepressant effects. Molecular Psychiatry, October 2013

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Medical Center. "A potential new class of fast-acting antidepressant." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131029090347.htm>.
University of Chicago Medical Center. (2013, October 29). A potential new class of fast-acting antidepressant. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131029090347.htm
University of Chicago Medical Center. "A potential new class of fast-acting antidepressant." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131029090347.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins