Although currently prescribed antidepressants with actions mediated through alteration of monoaminergic transmission have been proven to be useful for the treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders, they are far from ideal due to their slow onset of action and low rate of responses. Although the brain monoamine systems have long been the focus of drug therapy for depression and anxiety disorders, current drug discovery has aimed at new molecular targets outside the monoamine systems to overcome these problems. Recent increase in understanding of the molecular mechanisms of depression and anxiety has provided alternative molecular targets for these disorders. In particular, receptors within the glutamate, γ-aminobutyric acid and neuropeptide systems provide a diversity of drug targets, and molecular biological and behavioral studies of these receptors have revealed the important roles they play in depression and anxiety. Here, we review recent patents and advances in research on these emerging molecular targets for the treatment of depression and anxiety, and discuss their advantages over currently used antidepressants and anxiolytics.
Keywords: Antidepressant, anxiolytic, group I mGluR antagonist, group II mGluR agonist, group II mGluR antagonist, AMPA potentiator, GABAB positive modulator, GABAB antagonist, NK1 antagonist, NK2 antagonist, CRF1 antagonist, V1a antagonist, V1b antagonist, MCH1R antagonist, MC4 anatgonist
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