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Neurotransmitters resarch can promote better drugs for brain disorders

Jerusalem, January 7, 2014 -- Although drugs have been developed that inhibit the imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain a condition which causes many brain disorders and nervous system diseases the exact understanding of the mechanism by which these drugs work has not yet been fully explained.

Now, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, using baker's yeast as a model, have deciphered the mode by which the inhibitors affect the neurological transmission process and have even been able to manipulate it.

Their work, reported in a recent article in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, raises hopes that these insights could eventually guide clinical scientists to develop new and more effective drugs for brain disorders associated with neurotransmitter imbalance.

All of the basic tasks of our existence are executed by the brain whether it is breathing, heartbeat, memory building or physical movements which depend on the highly regulated and efficient release of neurotransmitters chemicals that act as messengers enabling extremely rapid connections between the neurons in the brain.

When even one part of the everyday "conversation" between neighboring neurons breaks down, the results can be devastating. Many brain disorders and nervous system diseases, including Huntington's disease, various motor dysfunctions and even Parkinson's disease, have been linked to problems with neurotransmitter transport.

The neurotransmitters are stored in the neuron in small, bubble-like compartments, called vesicles, containing transport proteins that are responsible for the storage of the neurotransmitters into the vesicles.

The storage of certain neurotransmitters is controlled by what is called the vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT), which is known to transport a variety of vital neurotransmitters, such as adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin.

In addition, it can also transport the detri

Contact: Jerry Barach
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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