A clinical trial in the September 2007 issue of Nature Medicine describes a drug that works effectively in people with schizophrenia by targeting glutamate-mediated neurotransmission.
Altered glutamate-mediated neurotransmission has repeatedly been linked to schizophrenia, but compelling evidence for its involvement has been lacking, and all commonly prescribed antipsychotic drugs act on dopamine receptors. Sandeep Patil and his colleagues now report that a selective agonist of a specific subtype of glutamate receptors known as mGlu2/3 has antipsychotic effects in patients with the disease.
They evaluated their drug -- LY2140023 -- in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in patients with schizophrenia, and compared how well it worked versus olanzapine, a commonly used antipsychotic compound that targets dopamine receptors. The authors found that patients treated with LY2140023 showed improvements in both positive (hallucinations, delusions and thought disorder) and negative (social withdrawal, apathy and emotional blunting) symptoms of schizophrenia compared to placebo after four weeks of treatment.
The results from this study indicate that mGlu2/3 receptor agonists have antipsychotic properties and represent the first credible alternative treatment for schizophrenia that does not target dopamine.
Sandeep Patil (Takeda Global Research & Development Center, Deerfield, IL, USA)
James Monn (Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza