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Activators and Inhibitors of the Ion Channel of the NMDA Receptor

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The involvement of the glutamate-glycine activated ion channels of the NMDA receptor in various neurophysiological processes has made this ion channel the focus of intense research. The excessive release of glutamate in a variety of neuronal hypoxic conditions implicates the NMDA receptor in a number of neuropatholological states, such as stroke, chronic pain, Parkinsons disease, Alzheimers disease, ALS, and epilepsy, among others, thus making this receptor a prime drug target candidate. A variety of agents are known to be effective in opening and closing of the ion channels of this receptor, among the latter group of agents is the peptidic conantokins. Through the use of electrophysiological measurements with a number of cell types containing natural and recombinant subunits of the NMDA receptor, much knowledge is evolving regarding the mechanism of action of activators and inhibitors of the NMDA receptor ion channels. In addition, structure-function studies of the conantokins in these systems have been revealing in terms of their complimentary sites on the NMDA receptor. These relationships serve as the main focus of this review.
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Keywords: C-terminal residues; GLA RESIDUES IN CONANTOKIN; NMDA Receptor; NR1b NR2B; electrophysiological measurements; hippocampal neurons

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 01 September 2001

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  • Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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