AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017

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Detailed Images Reveal Interactions That Affect Signaling in the Brain

Never-before seen snapshots of brain receptor may aid in design of targeted therapeutics for variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders 

Scientists at Columbia University have obtained the first detailed images of interactions between the AMPA receptor and molecules that regulate chemical signaling in the brain. Their findings may help understand the processes that contribute to conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, epilepsy, and schizophrenia—and could lead to the development of drugs to counteract these conditions. AMPA receptors respond to the release of chemical signals in the brain, which in turn governs brain function. Dysfunction in AMPA receptor signaling has been associated with a variety of neurological disorders. But because AMPA receptors are distributed throughout the brain, drugs aimed at modifying AMPA receptor activity have the potential to cause numerous severe side effects.

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