Non-invasive glutamate stimulation results in potent antidepressant effect

The team has demonstrated that a non-invasive glutamate stimulation delivers potent antidepressant effects. At the same time the glutamate pathway was also partially attenuated in several models of depression including mice. This unique feature of the glutamate modulation strategy facilitates its uptake within the central nervous system.

Moreover glutamate modulation therapy induced complex effects on attention and sleep-wake cycle and in animal models of Parkinson disease. The treatment at the dose of 66-uM a pharmacological compound of the benzodiazepine class resulted in a 15-fold increase in the release of the neurotransmitter glutamate in the animal models with lower alpha-synuclein expression explain the authors. For the control group no treatment was used. No significant side-effect was observed while the drug alleviated anxiety symptoms of the animals.

The research team is now planning the development of the molecules in the form of a formulation which has already been developed on mice. We believe this formulation will not only be studied for its antidepressant effect in the long term but also as a tiny-battery-free easy-to-use drug formulation. As an added benefit the formulation can activate the cells nicotinic transmitter system decreasing nervous system activity and effectively alleviating the depression effects of the acute administration of glutamate say the authors.

This study was selected as a Special Issue on Neurobiology of Human mood disorders and JDS (Prospective Scientific Development) is the publication of the lead author of the article which focuses on the glutamate mechanism of action. Although glutamate is primarily involved in establishing short-term inhibition of the excitatory and inhibitory neurons in the reward system the glutamate receptor is also known to be involved in mediating mood-enhancing effects of psychostimulant drugs such as Modafinil (Vicodin) in part in mood regulation. For this reason it is also possible that activation of the glutamate receptor and the inhibition of its action may account for the therapeutic effects of these drugs explain the authors.