Current Drug Targets

Francis J. Castellino
Kleiderer-Pezold Professor of Biochemistry
Director, W.M. Keck Center for Transgene Research
Dean Emeritus, College of Science
230 Raclin-Carmichael Hall, University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556
USA

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Catecholaminergic Strategies for the Treatment of Major Depression

Author(s): Philippe Tremblay and Pierre Blier

Affiliation: Institute of Mental HealthResearch, Lady Grey Building, suite 2043, Royal Ottawa Hospital, Universityof Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.

Keywords: Dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, locus coeruleus, raphe nuclei, ventral tegmental area

Abstract:

Although the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have become the first line medications for the treatment of depression, drugs primarily targeting the norepinephrine (NE) and/or the dopamine catecholaminergic systems are also effective. These include selective NE reuptake inhibitors, such as desipramine and reboxetine, the NE releaser bupropion and the α2-adrenergic antagonists mianserin and mirtazapine. Dopamine type 2 agonists are also effective in treating depression, although they are rarely used. Since the NE, dopamine and serotonin systems have reciprocal interactions, it is virtually impossible to act on a specific neuronal element without affecting in a cascade effect the two other systems. In this review, the primary actions of the catecholaminergic strategies upon their acute and long-term administration are described, as well as their impact on other systems. Their use in treatment-resistant depressed patients is also addressed.

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Article Details

VOLUME: 7
ISSUE: 2
Page: [149 - 158]
Pages: 10
DOI: 10.2174/138945006775515464