New finding may help future antidepressants work faster

July 30, 2007

A new study by the National Institute of Mental Health has revealed receptors that could help researchers develop antidepressants that will work in hours instead of weeks or months.

A new study by the National Institute of Mental Health has revealed receptors that could help researchers develop antidepressants that will work in hours instead of weeks or months. The study showed that the use of ketamine relieved symptoms of depression in mice within hours of the dose due to its ability to block the NMDA receptor on brain cells. This blockade led to an increase in the activity of another receptor called AMPA. Researchers believe it is a boost in this receptor that leads to ketamine's rapid antidepressant actions. The study authors do not think that ketamine will ever be used to treat depression itself, because of its propensity to cause hallucinations; however, the new results suggest that both the NMDA and AMPA receptors are key targets for future antidepressant medications. Both NMDA and AMPA are receptors for the neurotransmitter glutamate.

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