Corticotropin-releasing factor antagonists in affective disorders

M. J. Owens, Charles Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Following a search lasting nearly three decades, corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), a 41 amino acid-containing peptide, was isolated and characterised in 1981. In the preceding 18 years, a concatenation was developed that appears to show that CRF integrates not only the endocrine, but also the autonomic, immunologic and behavioural responses of mammalian organisms to stress. Direct CNS administration of CRF to laboratory animals produces actions similar to those observed after exposure to stress. Moreover, CNS administration of peptidergic CRF antagonists blocks many of the behavioural responses to stress. Since both early untoward life events as well as recently experienced stress have been implicated in the pathophysiology of affective disorders, and because there is substantial evidence for CRF neuronal hyperactivity in patients with affective disorders, small molecule, lipophilic CRF antagonists have been hypothesised to possess antidepressant and/or anxiolytic activity. Within the last few years, a number of pharmaceutical companies have developed selective, small molecule CRF1 receptor antagonists. These compounds block the effects of CRF both in vitro and in vivo. There is also evidence that these agents possess anxiolytic and antidepressant activity in animal behavioural models. Compounds that act upon the CRF system have been hypothesised to be of value not only for certain psychiatric disorders, but also in neurode-generative and inflammatory disorders. Some of these CRF1 receptor antagonists are currently undergoing clinical trials to determine their efficacy and tolerability in patients with mood and anxiety disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1849-1858
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Opinion on Investigational Drugs
Volume8
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 17 1999
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
Mood Disorders
Anti-Anxiety Agents
Antidepressive Agents
Laboratory Animals
Anxiety Disorders
Psychiatry
Animal Models
Clinical Trials
Amino Acids
Peptides
Pharmaceutical Preparations

Keywords

  • Antidepressant
  • Anxiety
  • Anxiolytic
  • CRF receptors
  • Depression
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

Cite this

Corticotropin-releasing factor antagonists in affective disorders. / Owens, M. J.; Nemeroff, Charles.

In: Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs, Vol. 8, No. 11, 17.11.1999, p. 1849-1858.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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