New Molecule May Be Basis For Drugs That Battle Overeating And Drug Dependency

A new synthetic chemical may provide the framework for future drugs that can treat a variety of brain-based ailments, ranging from overeating and drug dependency to neuropathic pain. Daniele Piomelli, professor of pharmacology at the UC Irvine College of Medicine, and colleagues at the University of Connecticut have created a molecule, AM1172, that regulates the processing of a neurotransmitter called anandamide. In tests on mice, Piomelli found AM1172 to be effective in increasing brain anandamide activity, in much the same way as the antidepressant drug Prozac increases activity of the neurotransmitter serotonin. The study appears in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 10.

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