Novel Drug Reduces Anxiety-Like Behavior in Mice; Researchers Make Advances in Understanding Role of Specific Glutamate-Induced Neurotransmission in Anxiety-Like Behavior in Mice

Anxiety, commonly termed as a feeling of fear, dread, and restlessness, is a perfectly normal reaction to stressful situations. However, a state of heightened anxiety, which is the reality for thousands of people who struggle to cope with these feelings, is called anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder can invoke debilitating fear or apprehension, even without any immediate threat. Though intensive research over the years has yielded a wealth of information, and effective drugs like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been used to alleviate this condition, much remains to be understood about this complex condition and its treatment. For a group of Japanese researchers from the Tokyo University of Science and the University of Tsukuba, endeavoring in this line of research is not new. In a previous study, they used a drug called KNT-127, which acts by activating specific receptors in the brain, called “delta opioid receptors.” The researchers found that KNT-127 reduced anxiety-like behavior in mice. They found that KNT-127 caused the reduction of an excitatory neurotransmitter, called glutamate, in the extracellular regions of a part of the brain that controls several emotional states, called the “prelimbic subregion of the medial prefrontal cortex” (PL-PFC). The researchers went on to study this phenomenon in a new study just published online on June 30, 2021 in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communication. The article is titled “Modulation of Glutamatergic Synaptic Transmission and Neuronal Excitability in the Prelimbic Medial Prefrontal Cortex Via Delta-Opioid Receptors in Mice.”

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