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Current Psychopharmacology


ISSN (Print): 2211-5560
ISSN (Online): 2211-5579

The Role of N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor - Mediated Neurotransmission in Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADHD/ADD)

Author(s): Andrea R. Durrant and Uriel Heresco-Levy

Volume 3, Issue 3, 2014

Page: [184 - 194] Pages: 11

DOI: 10.2174/2211556004666150609224409

Price: $65


Attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder (ADHD/ADD) is a costly, prevalent, chronic neurobiological disorder that is estimated to affect 3-12% of school-aged children and accounts for approximately half of all pediatric referrals to mental health services. ADHD/ADD has as core features difficulty in sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity and is associated with high levels of morbidity and disability including poor performance in school and work, difficulty with peer and family relationships, antisocial behavior, psychiatric comorbidity, and substance abuse. ADHD/ADD persists into adulthood in a large proportion of pediatric cases. Psychostimulants are the first line drug treatment for ADHD/ADD, however, some patients do not respond well to currently used medications. Furthermore, most parents of children with ADHD/ADD dislike the use of psychostimulants. Overall, there is a critical need for the testing and development of new pharmacotherapies for symptom suppression in this disorder.

We review an innovative approach for ADHD/ADD treatment. Glutamate is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, an essential component of neurocircuits implicated in ADHD/ADD and an extensive modulator of dopamine. Herein, we suggest using a natural compound, Dserine, that modulates glutamatergic neurotransmission. This approach is based on the use of N-methyl-Daspartate- type glutamate receptor (NMDAR) agonists that preferentially target NR1-subtype receptors. This line of investigation is supported by recent findings stemming from preclinical and clinical studies in which glycine (GLY) site agonists of the NMDAR (e.g. D-serine) were investigated as potential pharmacotherapy for psychiatric, cognitive and motor symptoms in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Keywords: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cognition, D-serine, dopamine, glutamate, N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor.

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