In a first, scientists from Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University Medical Center have described the specifics of how brain cells process antidepressant drugs, cocaine and amphetamines.
These novel findings could prove useful in the development of more targeted medication therapies for a host of psychiatric diseases, most notably in the area of addiction.
Their breakthrough research, featured as the cover story in a recent issue of Molecular Cell, describes the precise molecular and biochemical structure of drug targets known as neurotransmitter-sodium symporters (NSSs), and how cells use them to enable neural signaling in the brain. A second study, published in the latest issue of Nature Neuroscience, pinpoints where the drug molecules bind in the neurotransmitter transporter — their target in the human nervous system.
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