Navigation Links
Studies suggest new brain protein may help in treating schizophrenia, insomnia and anxiety

A small protein in the brain that has only recently been discovered and, paradoxically, induces both profound wakefulness and a less anxious state, may represent a novel target for the treatment of psychotic behavior and schizophrenia, according to new research presented at the 6th International Congress of Neuroendocrinology (ICN 2006). ICN 2006 is being held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh June 19 ?22.

Neuropeptide S (NPS), so named by Rainer K. Reinscheid, Ph.D., assistant professor, Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of California, Irvine, is produced by a small cluster of cells in the brainstem, yet its specialized receptors are found in several areas of the brain, including those that are associated with the regulation of arousal, sleep and wakefulness, anxiety, appetite, learning and memory. Dr. Reinscheid and his colleagues reported finding the new neuropeptide just last year and described animal studies showing how binding of NPS to its receptors on the surfaces of neurons promotes strong arousal, suppresses all phases of sleep and lessens anxiety in stressful or unfamiliar situations.

Now, at ICN 2006, Dr. Reinscheid's group reports how NPS also can reduce the biochemical and behavioral symptoms of schizophrenia in an established animal model for this mental illness that affects some 2 million Americans. Animals pretreated with NPS before receiving a drug that normally induces psychotic-like behaviors did not develop the signature behavioral symptoms and neurochemical features of schizophrenia, reported Naoe Okamura, M.D., Ph.D., who is a co-worker of Dr. Reinscheid at the University of California, Irvine.

"Although preliminary, our animal studies indicate the NPS receptor should be explored as a target for the development of novel antipsychotic drugs. Whether molecules activating the NPS system will prove to be better drugs than others used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia remains to be seen. We still have a very long way to go before proving it can alleviate symptoms in humans as we've seen it do in rodents," said Dr. Reinscheid.

"We've already seen how NPS is unique, being able to modulate both arousal and stress responses. So it could potentially be a target for drugs to treat anxiety and, interestingly, both insomnia and narcolepsy," he added.

The receptor for NPS belongs to a class of those with similar structure called G protein-coupled receptors. Collectively, they have a hand in modulating most every physiological process in the body and brain. Moreover, according to Dr. Reinscheid, about 40 percent of drugs on the market target the function and various actions of these receptors.

Dr. Reinscheid's lab is only beginning to understand how the NPS system works. Thus far, the team's research suggests it acts much like an excitatory neurotransmitter that initiates an impulse by the receiving neuron. Currently, the team is looking at whether natural mutations in the genes of NPS and its receptor might be associated with mental disorders and developing animal models that lack parts of the NPS system in order to better understand its functions.


Source:University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Related biology news :

1. Studies reveal methods viruses use to sidestep immune system
2. Studies reveal how plague disables immune system, and how to exploit the process to make a vaccine
3. Studies clarify risk factors for mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis C virus
4. Studies on human genome variation provide insight into disease
5. Studies find general mechanism of cellular aging
6. Studies look at how genes affect antipsychotic drug response
7. Studies yield insight into the numerical brain
8. Studies force new view on biology of flavonoids
9. New studies suggest airborne SARS transmission is possible
10. Insight into natural cholesterol control suggests novel cholesterol-lowering therapy
11. Light therapy may combat fungal infections, new evidence suggests
Post Your Comments:

(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, ... driving the explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and ... new book, The Internet of Healthy Things ... sensors or smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, ... of health care delivery, moving care from the hospital ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... Munich, Germany , ... (ASGM) automatically maps data from mobile eye tracking videos ... so that they can be quantitatively analyzed with SMI,s ... Germany , October 28-29, 2015. SMI,s Automated Semantic ... eye tracking videos created with SMI,s Eye Tracking ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... , Oct. 26, 2015  Delta ID Inc., a ... to mobile and PC devices, announced its ActiveIRIS® technology ... arrows NX F-02H launched by NTT DOCOMO, INC in ... is the second smartphone to include iris recognition technology, ... ARROWS NX F-04G in May 2015, world,s first smartphone ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS; TSX: ... prospects remain fundamentally strong and highlights the following ... received DSMB recommendation to continue the ZoptEC Phase ... the final interim efficacy and safety data ... men with heavily pretreated castration- and Taxane-resistant prostate ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds the third-largest share ... The trend of outsourcing to low-cost locations is ... volume share for the region in the short ... in the CRO industry will improve. ... ), finds that the market earned revenues ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... healthy metabolism. But unless it is bound to proteins, copper is also toxic ... (NIH), researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a systematic study of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... This fall, global software solutions leader SAP and AdVenture Capital brought together ... their BIG ideas to improve health and wellness in their schools. , Now, the ... title of SAP's Teen Innovator, an all-expenses paid trip to Super Bowl 50, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: