Recently, Australian scientists and their international research team discovered a receptor in a region of the brain that is thought to be related to negative emotions. Targeting this receptor can effectively regulate negative emotions. The research results will provide a new direction for the development of drugs for mental illness. The research results have been published in the journal Science.
According to the researchers, this unique receptor is found in a rarely studied area in the center of the human brain. It is called the glycine-gated N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor and plays a role in regulating negative emotions. NMDA usually requires two different neurotransmitter molecules (glutamic acid and glycine) to bind and activate the receptor. The research team discovered that the receptor needs only one neurotransmitter (glycine) to activate it.
Researchers said that receptor control of brain function is currently the target of about 40% of related drugs. Therefore, the discovery of this unique receptor and its effect on regulating anxiety and negative emotions means that it has the potential to become a highly specific target for mood regulating drugs. Psychotropic drugs often have side effects. This discovery is conducive to the development of more targeted drugs with fewer side effects. It may also reduce the receptor subunits that are known to cause pain in the local brain, thereby reducing pain and affecting future medication .