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Targeting Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3 in the CNS: Implications for the Development of New Treatments for Mood Disorders

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There exists an immediate need to develop novel medications for the treatment of mood disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression. Initial interest in glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) as a target for the treatment of mood disorders arose from the finding that the mood stabilizing drug lithium directly inhibited the enzyme. More recent preclinical evidence implicates the modulation of GSK- 3 in either the direct or downstream mechanism of action of many other mood stabilizer and antidepressant medications currently in use. One of the cellular targets of GSK-3, which may mediate some of the effects of lithium and other drugs, is β-catenin, a transcription factor that is rapidly degraded when GSK-3 is active. Recent rodent behavioral data (both genetic and pharmacological) supports GSK-3 representing a therapeutically relevant target of lithium. This includes antidepressant-like behavior in the forced swim test and antimaniclike response to amphetamine following administration of the GSK-3 inhibitor AR-A014418, a findings that is concomitant with an increase in brain β-catenin. The evidence described in this review suggests that regulating GSK-3 may represent a target for novel medications to treat mood disorders.





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Keywords: Manic-depressive illness; antidepressant; depression; mania; mood stabilizer; psychopharmacology; valproate

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory of Molecular Pathophysiology, Bldg. 35, Room 1C-912, NIMH, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892-3711, USA.

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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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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