Modern people live under great pressure, and depression and anxiety are common diseases of civilization. Medical researchers are constantly looking for new drugs that can be used for treatment. MedUni Vienna recently identified a lead compound ), in addition to having the same antidepressant effect of increasing serotonin, it can reduce the risk of drug abuse and other adverse reactions without significantly stimulating the brain’s “reward center” to increase dopamine levels.
The potential of synthetic cathinone compounds in the treatment of psychiatric disorders
Increasing the extracellular level of serotonin (5-HT) in the brain can improve the symptoms of depression and anxiety-related diseases, which is also the main effect of current common antidepressant drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) effect.
Although these drugs can bring benefits, they may also cause some adverse side effects. In the latest study, the team at the Medical University of Vienna focused on the ability to release monoamines such as norepinephrine (monoamines), dopamine and serotonin. The well-known family of cathinones (Cathinones) compounds, and the potential of some of these substances in the treatment of psychiatric diseases has been determined in preclinical experiments.
In addition to showing serotonin-related effects in cell models and mouse models, the cathinone compounds used by the team are also considered to be drugs for anxiety-related diseases such as depression, social phobia, and post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) The key factor in the treatment, based on the results of the study, the team believes that these drugs can be considered as lead compounds that may play a role in diseases that need to be treated by increasing serotonin.
Induces serotonin release via serotonin transporter
Including selective serotonin recovery inhibitors, traditional antidepressant drugs mostly function by inhibiting and blocking serotonin transporter (SERT) and increasing the extracellular concentration of neurotransmitters in the brain. Evidence from pre-clinical studies also demonstrates the therapeutic potential of drugs in another direction: substances that do not inhibit serotonin transporters, but reverse the natural transport direction of serotonin transporters, and induce serotonin release directly through them.
However, including MDMA in clinical trials, compounds that target serotonin transporters to release serotonin have the risk of drug abuse and harmful side effects. Cathinone is also one of the commonly abused substances in recent years, but by adjusting its In the activity of serotonin transporters, the cathinone compounds used by the team tend to release serotonin without significantly increasing dopamine levels, which indirectly reduces the possibility of new drugs being abused and reduces the overall side effects.
Although more research is needed to confirm potential therapeutic efficacy and safety, Harald Sitte, professor at the Institute of Pharmacology at the Center for Physiology and Pharmacology of the Medical University of Vienna and research leader Harald Sitte, believes that this study has successfully determined the efficacy of a new serotonin-releasing drug. The first representative, and this drug does not produce various side effects.
Further reading: A review of depression treatments, from prefrontal lobotomy to emerging psychedelic treatments
1. Molecular Psychiatry, 2022, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41380-022-01843-w
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