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Current Pharmaceutical Design


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

The Role of α5 GABAAReceptor Agonists in the Treatment of Cognitive Deficits in Schizophrenia

Author(s): Kathryn M. Gill and Anthony A. Grace

Volume 20, Issue 31, 2014

Page: [5069 - 5076] Pages: 8

DOI: 10.2174/1381612819666131216114612

Price: $65


Currently available pharmacotherapies for the treatment of schizophrenia are ineffective in restoring the disrupted cognitive function associated with this disorder. As such, there is a continued search for more viable novel drug targets. Engaging in cognitive behaviors is associated with distinct coordinated oscillatory activity across brain regions, in particular the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. In schizophrenia patients, pathological alterations in the functionality of GABAergic interneurons in the PFC and HPC responsible for generating network oscillations are thought to contribute to impaired cognition. Destabilized GABAergic interneuron activity in the HPC is further associated with aberrant increases in HPC output and enhanced dopamine neuron activity. Consequently, drugs directed at restoring HPC function could impact both oscillatory activity along with dopamine tone. There is compelling evidence from animal models of schizophrenia that allosteric modulation of the α5 subunit of the GABAA receptor is a viable means of resolving aberrant dopamine system activity through indirect alteration of HPC output. Consequently, these compounds are promising for their potential in also ameliorating cognitive deficits attributed to dysfunction in HPC network activity.

Keywords: α5GABAA receptors, schizophrenia, positive allosteric modulator, hippocampus, dopamine, ventral tegmental area.

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