Pharmaceutical International News - June 2012
Future Pathological Aggression Drug Treatments
Posted by Paul Fiddian - Pharmaceutical International's Lead Reporter on 20/06/2012 - 09:25:00
A new breed of drug treatments for aggressive behaviours could emerge from research on mice carried out in the US.
Based at USC (University of Southern California) School of Pharmacy, the researchers involved have found a way to block pathological rage through identifying a brain receptor responsible for producing aggression. This receptor's shared by mice and humans, so the researchers believe that since they've been able to close it down in rodents, the potential's there to do the same with humans, too.
Therefore, a host of new pathological aggression-targeting drugs for patients with bipolar disorder, autism, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's and other conditions could be produced.
Aggression Treatment Research
The head researcher involved in this aggression treatment research is Marco Bortolato. "From a clinical and social point of view, reactive aggression is absolutely a major problem", he explained in a USC School of Pharmacy press release, adding: "We want to find the tools that might reduce impulsive violence."
Together, Bortolato and colleague Jean Shin took a retrospective look at the triggers for pathological aggression, including enzyme levels and other factors including childhood neglect. Previously, they'd found a link between a specific enzyme called MAO A (monoamine oxidase A) and violent stress response reactions.
"Low levels of MAO A are one basis of the predisposition to aggression in humans", said Bortolato. "The other is an encounter with maltreatment, and the combination of the two factors appears to be deadly: it results consistently in violence in adults."
Future Pathological Aggression Drugs
Bortolato and colleagues are now analysing the side effects of future pathological aggression drugs that could lower this receptor's activity.
"The fact that blocking this receptor moderates aggression is why this discovery has so much potential", Bortolato concluded. "It may have important applications in therapy. Whatever the ways environment can persistently affect behavior - and even personality over the long term - behavior is ultimately supported by biological mechanisms."
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