Scientists Have Developed a New, Better Antidepressant

Depression Relief Concept

Presently available antidepressant drugs have unpleasant side effects, addictive properties, or can induce schizophrenia. Developing fast-onset antidepressants without these drawbacks is thus an important neuropharmacological goal.

Scientists have opened the door for a new class of fast-onset antidepressants.

According to a recent study, a new small-molecule compound that regulates the firing of serotonergic neurons has a fast-acting antidepressant effect. The results pave the way for the development of a new class of treatments for major depressive disorder (MDD) and other difficult-to-treat mood disorders. MDD is one of the most common mental disorders, affecting hundreds of millions of individuals globally.

The majority of today’s antidepressants target the serotonin transporter (SERT). These drugs, however, are limited. SERT-targeted antidepressants not only take up to 4 weeks to take effect, but they may also have serious side effects, including suicide, and only a percentage of individuals who take them recover from depression following treatment. While ketamine has been considered as an alternative, its potentially addictive properties as well as the danger of schizophrenia have aroused concerns.

As a result, there is a need for new, fast-acting antidepressant targets and compounds without these serious drawbacks. Here, Nan Sun and colleagues present one such solution. Sun and his team designed a fast-onset antidepressant that works by disrupting the interaction between SERT and neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS).

The authors found that disassociating SERT from nNOS in the brains of mice reduced intercellular serotonin in a brain region called the dorsal raphe nucleus. This enhanced serotonergic neuron activity in this area and dramatically increased serotonin release into the medial prefrontal cortex. According to the findings, this resulted in a fast-acting antidepressant effect in a mouse model of MDD.

Reference: “Design of fast-onset antidepressant by dissociating SERT from nNOS in the DRN” by Nan Sun, Ya-Juan Qin, Chu Xu, Tian Xia, Zi-Wei Du, Li-Ping Zheng, An-an Li, Fan Meng, Yu Zhang, Jing Zhang, Xiao Liu, Ting-You Li, Dong-Ya Zhu and Qi-Gang Zhou, 27 October 2022, Science.
DOI: 10.1126/science.abo3566


View Comments

  • Didn't they just recently discover that the serotonin theory was bulls***? And, even before they started looking into it, wasn't the difference between SSRIs and placebo's efficacy something like 55% vs 40%? So, discounting the people who could be cured with a Pez dispenser, they only had an efficacy of 25%. What makes this magic serotonin solution so much different?

  • Unfortunately I cannot receive antidepressants because I suffer from schizophrenia and they are considered unbalancing, meaning they may cause psychosis. I do suffer from serious depression bouts which therefore cannot be treated:(

  • Dude, they just discovered it, it will take a lot longer to get all certifications and mass production, calm your serotonins down

  • We need this approved immediately. Just like the Covid-19 vaccines. FDA Needs to decrease the time to approve a lot of drugs that can be game changers to humanity.

  • I'd love to see the data from the studies. 40 years of lies and con artistry from socalled scientists and medical professionals leaves me doubtful.

  • Ketamine, as used as a depression treatment, is not addictive. Nor is there any risk of schizophrenia for those not already prone to it. Please research your articles better.

    • I would be fearful of using a potentially addictive drug given my abuse history. I am still having problems finding a replacement for Nefazodone.

  • I'm with Jom. I run a Ketamine clinic and it does not cause schizophrenia nor is medical dosing addictive. Our IV infusion clinic has an 80% success rate and it's a pretty incredible job to witness so many lives changeing.

    Lastly, I have MDD and ketamine has literally changed my life. I went from nonfunctioning, staring at walls, to running the Bay Areas most successful ketamine center! Please don't knock ketamine to push a new drug.

  • I am tired of Big Pharma propagandizing information about treatments for potentially deadly illnesses, especially for those treatments that free one from maintenance medications (most of which cause serious damage after long term use.)For years, Ketamine treatment was held back because of concerns that it would produce a “high”: so f-ing what? People didn’t get treatment that could have ended their suffering because they might enjoy it? This article is dangerous and if one person declines or defers Ketamine treatment because of that BS about schizophrenia, the author has blood on their hands should that person take their life.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

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