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Current Pharmaceutical Design


ISSN (Print): 1381-6128
ISSN (Online): 1873-4286

Basic Pharmacology of NMDA Receptors

Author(s): Xenia Gonda

Volume 18, Issue 12, 2012

Page: [1558 - 1567] Pages: 10

DOI: 10.2174/138161212799958521

Price: $65


NMDA receptors are ionotropic receptors mediating glutamatergic neurotransmission and play a role in several basic functions in the central nervous system, from regulating neurodevelopment and synaptic plasticity, learning and memory formation, cognitive processes, rhythm generation necessary for locomotor activity and breathing, and excitotoxicity. Due to their complex involvement in the above processes, NMDA receptors have been established to play a role in the etiopathology of several neuropsychiatric disorders such as ischaemia and traumatic brain injury, neurodegenerative disorders, pain syndromes, addiction, affective disorders and such neurodevelopmental disorders as autism or schizophrenia. NMDA receptors contain multiple types of subunits with distinct functional and pharmacological properties making the picture more complex. These receptors also offer multiple binding sites to be targeted with pharmacons, however, early broad-spectrum NMDA receptor antagonists had limited clinical use due to their intolerable adverse effect profile. The discovery of several types of subunit selective NMDA receptor antagonists may offer valuable therapeutic possibilities for several disorders, with improved clinical efficacy and decreased side effects. However, in spite of our increasing knowledge concerning the involvement of NMDA receptors in pathological processes, molecules with a selective action, tolerable side effect profile and good clinical efficacy are still only in clinical development in the majority of cases. Nevertheless, NMDA receptors offer a novel opportunity in the treatment of various neuropsychiatric conditions.

Keywords: NMDA, glutamate, receptor subunits, neuropsychiatric disorders

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