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Brain Discovery May Aid Psychosis Treatment

brainResearchers believe the discovery of a new receptor complex in the brain could help provide new treatments for schizophrenia and other diseases associated with psychosis.

The receptor complex responds to several types of antipsychotic drugs used to treat schizophrenia and also reacts to hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD.

Stuart Sealfon, MD, Professor of Neurology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and colleagues discovered the complex.

“The psychosis associated with schizophrenia is characterized by alterations in sensory processing and perception. The discovery of this receptor complex could provide a new target for developing drugs to treat schizophrenia,” said Dr. Sealfon.

The study done in mice identified that the two receptors, neurotransmitters glutamate and serotonin, interact and work as a hybrid complex. Hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD and psilocybin, act at serotonin receptors to cause responses similar to some of the core symptoms of schizophrenia.

The researchers showed that the glutamate receptor interacts with the serotonin receptor to form functional complexes in brain cortex. This receptor complex triggers unique cellular responses when targeted by hallucinogenic drugs.

Activation of the glutamate receptor blocks hallucinogen-specific signaling and changes behavioral responses in mice.

In untreated schizophrenics, the serotonin receptor is up-regulated and the glutamate receptor is downregulated, a pattern that could predispose to psychosis. These findings suggest that the newly identified serotonin/glutamate complex may be involved in the altered cortical processes of schizophrenia.

“The findings further our understanding of how hallucinations occur. They suggest a brain abnormality that may contribute to the abnormal brain function in schizophrenia,” said Dr. Sealfon.

“We can now use this information to do further study and hopefully develop more specific drug therapies for treating patients who suffer from hallucinations and psychosis.”

The study is published online in Nature.

Source: Mount Sinai Medical Center

Brain Discovery May Aid Psychosis Treatment

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Brain Discovery May Aid Psychosis Treatment. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/02/25/brain-discovery-may-aid-psychosis-treatment/1959.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.