Building a Better Antipsychotic Drug by Treating Schizophrenia’s Cause: How Drugs Act On Dopamine-Producing Neurons

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The classic symptoms of schizophrenia — paranoia, hallucinations, the inability to function socially — can be managed with antipsychotic drugs. But exactly how these drugs work has long been a mystery.

Now, researchers at Pitt have discovered that antipsychotic drugs work akin to a Rube Goldberg machine — that is, they suppress something that in turn suppresses the bad effects of schizophrenia, but not the exact cause itself. In a paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience, they say that pinpointing what’s actually causing the problem could lead to better avenues of schizophrenia treatment that more directly and efficiently target the disease.

“In the past five years or so, we’ve really started to understand what may be going wrong with the schizophrenic brain,” says Anthony Grace, Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and professor of psychology in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences and professor of psychiatry in the Pitt School of Medicine, who is senior author of the paper….

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by University of Pittsburgh.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110824091730.htm

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