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25 Years of Breakthroughs: Discovery Points Toward Improved Efficacy of Antidepressants
In 2010, Scientific Council Member Rene Hen, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Columbia University, and a researcher at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, led a team of researchers to a groundbreaking discovery in understanding why antidepressants may fail to relieve symptoms of depression for up to 50 percent of patients. Using an animal model, he found that an excess of one type of serotonin receptor in the center of the brain can actually reduce the production of serotonin.
Serotonin relieves many symptoms of depression and most antidepressants increase serotonin levels in the brain. The specific receptor known as 1A actually works against the production of serotonin, however, and may ultimately, for patients with an excess of this receptor, make them unresponsive to common antidepressants. Once the role of surplus serotonin receptors in people is confirmed, drugs may be developed to reduce the number of receptors or impede their activity, thus reversing the non-responsiveness to antidepressants.
Read More at ScienceDaily
Read the Nature article for more scientific details
Another article on this research, from LiveScience
Watch and Listen to NARSAD Independent Investigator Grantee, Katherine L. Wisner, M.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine answer questions related to depression as part of the "Ask an Expert" section of our website.