Over the past several years, remarkable advances have been made both in our understanding of the central nervous system (CNS) and in the pathophysiology of the major psychiatric disorders, resulting in major breakthroughs in our capacity to treat these devastating illnesses. Since the seminal work of Ramon Y Cajal and Golgi at the turn of the century, new techniques such as fluorescence histochemistry have evolved into immunohistochemical and more recently in situ hybridization. These techniques have permitted, for the first time, the elucidation of chemically defined neural circuits. Such advances in the mapping of neural systems and the visualization of monoaminergic and peptidergic neurons and their receptors in tissue sections have provided the tools for the burgeoning field of neurochemical pathology of psychiatric disorders. Data provided from such studies has served as the basis for the development of novel pharmacological approaches to the treatment of affective and anxiety disorders, as well as schizophrenia. This review focuses on two major neural systems implicated in the pathophysiology of depression, serotonin and corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). Development of novel agents are described including selective serotonin receptor agonists, combined selective serotonin receptor antagonists and serotonin reuptake inhibitors, CRF receptor antagonists, and the use of an antisense strategy.
- Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry