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GABAergic Contributions to the Pathophysiology of Depression and the Mechanism of Antidepressant Action

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Increasing evidence suggests that abnormalities in amino neurotransmission are associated with the neurobiology of depression. Preclinical studies demonstrate that GABA modulating agents are active in commonly used rodent behavioral models of antidepressant activity, and that chronic administration of antidepressant drugs induces marked changes in GABAergic function. In humans, depressed patients have lower plasma, CSF and brain GABA concentrations than non-depressed comparison subjects. The recent discovery that several anticonvulsant and GABA-mimetic agents possess mood stabilizing and antidepressant properties has further increased interest in these findings. This review outlines the existing literature investigating the possible involvement of GABA in the neurobiology of depression and briefly highlights how this information may afford new targets for antidepressant drug development.

Keywords: GABA; Psychiatry; mood disorders; neurosteroid; pathophysiology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit, Abraham Ribicoff Research Facilities, Connecticut Mental Health Center, 34 Park St., New Haven, CT, USA.

Publication date: April 1, 2007

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  • CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in neurological and central nervous system (CNS) disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in neurological and CNS disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for neurological and CNS 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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