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Pharmacopsychiatry

Neurosteroids and sigma1 receptors, biochemical and behavioral relevance.


PMID 15547783

Abstract

The sigma(1) receptor is a 223 amino acid protein sharing no homology with other mammalian protein. It is an intracellular protein present on the endoplasmic reticulum membrane, which can translocates to other organelles and plasma membranes after activation. Activation of the sigma(1) receptor results in modulation of calcium mobilization from inositol trisphosphate receptor-gated intracellular pools and, at the plasma membrane, in modulation of several neurotransmitter responses. Behaviorally, sigma(1) receptors are involved in learning and memory, response to stress and depression, psychostimulant-induced sensitization, vulnerability to addiction and pain perception. Numerous synthetic compounds bind to sigma(1) receptor, playing the role of activator/agonist or blocker/antagonist, and these include benzomorphans, neuroleptics, antidepressants, cocaine, peptides related to neuropeptide Y or calcitonin gene-related peptide. It is also the case of neuro(active)steroids, i. e., circulating neuroactive steroids and neurosteroids synthesized de novo by the brain, which appear as the most important endogenous modulators of sigma(1) receptor. Pregnenolone and dehydroepiandrosterone act as sigma(1) receptor agonists and progesterone is a potent antagonist. The present paper will review the molecular and biochemical features concerning the sigma(1) receptor and focus on the recent studies examining the impact of the neuro(active)steroid/sigma(1) receptor interaction on the antidepressant activity of sigma(1) receptor agonists in the context of neurodegenerative diseases.

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D4000
trans-Dehydroandrosterone, ≥99%
C19H28O2