May 21, 2007

"Glutamate Receptor Regulator" Studied to Treat Schizophrenia

According to phase 2 clinical trial data presented by Eli Lilly at the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research in Colorado Springs in April, a "metabotropic glutamate receptor agonist" medication that it is working on may be able to help reverse some of the cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia.

The effects seen gives some researchers hope that the drug may even be an alternative to the Dopamine D2 receptor antipsychotic medications currently on the market although it is much too early to make that determination.

Being an "agonist" means that it enhances the receptor's ability, as opposed to blocking it.

Glycine and Glutamate are considered to be co-agonists of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. Both are involved in "turning on" the NMDA receptors which may be involved in cognition. However, the "metabotropic glutamate" receptors (mGlu2/3) are linked to another messenger system -- one that is located on the "synaptic membranes", the site where the brain neurons communicate with each other -- and which may regulate the release of glutamate.

The "metabotropic glutamate receptor agonist" being investigated by Eli Lilly therefore does not affect the "ionotropic glutamate receptors", which are affected by the glutamate, nor does it affect the tranportation of the glutamate.

In the trial, the Lilly researchers treated people chronically ill with schizophrenia with an mGlu2/3 agonist (at this stage, it is simply called "Ly2140023") for 28 days.

The mGlu2/3 agonist was reported to be significantly better than placebo not only in symptom scores but in the time before the patient discontinued it use. The company says that the side effects profile (EPS and metabolic indicators) was not significantly worse than placebo.

Read the article: Glutamate Regulator May Be Alternative to D2 Blockers

Related Reading:
Market Study Highlights New Therapies for Schizophrenia
Update on Glycine as Treatment for Schizophrenia
Altered Activity in Brain Receptors Points to Schizophrenia Complexity
Research: Schizophrenia chemical flaw clue
Adjunctive Topiramate for Treatment Resistant Schizophrenia


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