Neuropeptide Receptors: Novel Therapeutic Targets for Depression and Anxiety Disorders
Numerous neuropeptides have recently attracted interest as novel targets for drug discovery for the treatment of depression and anxiety based on the important roles that these proteins play in regulating stress responses. Neuropeptides exert their effects through specific receptors, most of which belong to the G-protein coupled receptor superfamily. A series of neurochemical and behavioural studies utilizing pharmacological tools and genetically engineered animals have elucidated the role of each receptor subtype in depression and anxiety. In addition, clinical studies have been conducted using selective antagonists for several receptor subtypes. In particular, neuropeptides that regulate two important stress-related pathways, HPA axis activity and reward activity, are of interest as novel approaches for the treatment of depression and anxiety.