Abstract: Substance p and substance p receptor antagonists in the pathogenesis and treatment of affective disorders

World J Biol Psychiatry 2003 Apr;4(2):56-63

Herpfer I, Lieb K.

Klaus Lieb M.D., Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Freiburg Medical School, Hauptstr. 5, 79104 Freiburg, Germany. klaus_lieb@psyallg.ukl.uni-freiburg.de

Substance P (SP) is a neuropeptide which is widely distributed in the periphery and the central nervous system (CNS), where it is co-localised with other neurotransmitters such as serotonin or dopamine and where it acts as a neuromodulator.

SP has been proposed to play a role in the aetiopathology of asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, emesis, psoriasis, as well as neuropsychiatric disorders including pain syndromes (e.g. migraine and fibromyalgia) and affective disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.

This review focuses on the role of SP in the pathogenesis of affective disorders. It summarises the current knowledge on measurements of SP in the CSF and serum in patients with depressive disorders or fibromyalgia, effects of SP-application in humans, SP-receptor expression in postmortem brains and the modulation of SP levels in the course of antidepressant treatment. It also discusses the promise of substance P-receptor antagonists (SPA) for the treatment of affective disorders and their proposed mechanism of action.

In summary, much more research is needed to elucidate the role of SP in the pathogenesis of depression. SPA are promising as future drugs for the treatment of affective disorders, but current clinical trials have yet to be completed to draw a firm conclusion. Key words: substance P, neurokinin1-receptor, affective disorders, depression, review.

PMID: 12692775 [PubMed – in process]

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