Researchers discovered receptor in the brain that regulates negative moods
An international research team has discovered a receptor in a poorly understood part of the brain that is thought to be related to negative moods. The discovery published in the journal Science may lead to more targeted drugs.
Researchers have discovered a unique receptor in the brain that is believed to regulate negative moods. According to a statement from the University of Sydney (Australia), the pea-sized receptor was found in a poorly studied region in the center of the human brain, the medial habenula.
Function of the brain region is not well understood
The culmination of eight years of careful research, in which Dr. Yo Otsu, now at the University of Sydney and at the Kolling Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, as well as scientists from France, Canada and Hungary under the direction of Drs. Marco Diana were involved.
The first author Otsu said he and his colleagues assume that the receptor plays a role in regulating negative moods. It is referred to as a glycine-directed [N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor] NMDA receptor.
"The function of the medial habenula is not well understood, but it is believed to be related to negative motivational states," Dr. Otsu.
Newly Discovered Receptor Needs Only One Neurotransmitter
"We knew that there are GluN3A subunits in the medial habenula, and that NMDA receptors formed with these subunits probably have different properties. We did not expect to find the receptor we found. " Otsu.
NMDA receptors typically require two different neurotransmitters (glutamate and glycine) to bind and activate the receptor. The newly discovered receptor only needs one neurotransmitter (glycine) to activate it.
"Receptors control brain function and are the target of approximately 40 percent of all current drugs. The discovery of this rare type of receptor and its role in the modulation of anxiety and the effects of negative experiences therefore means that it has the potential to be a highly specific target for mood-controlling drugs, "says Dr. Otsu.
"Psychotropic drugs often have side effects because they are non-specific and affect the entire brain. This discovery offers the potential to develop more targeted drugs with fewer side effects, "the lead author said.
Impact on future drugs
" The findings may also have implications for future pain reduction medications with the receptor subunit located in a part of the brain known to be involved in pain. "
" We will now begin research within the Kolling Institute to better understand the role of this newly discovered receptor and ultimately develop drugs that target him. This could lead to advances in mental health medications and painkillers. " Otsu. (ad)
- Science: Control of aversion by glycine-gated GluN1
- University of Sydney: Scientists discover mood-altering brain receptor, (Available on: 11/11/2019), University of Sydney
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