A new drug that blocks the action of the neurotransmitter dopamine may be able to help relieve pain and depression in people suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder.
A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that the drug, known as WIN-55,212-2, blocks the activity of dopamine receptors, which is one of the chemical messengers in the brain that helps drive activity in our reward system.
“Dopamine is a central component of the reward system,” said lead author Andrew J. Pfeifer, a neuroscientist at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.
“It’s part of the circuitry that allows us to feel pleasure and reward.”
The drug is an amphetamine derivative that was first developed in the 1950s.
It is currently used as a treatment for attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and attention deficit, hyperactivity, and hypersexuality, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Pfeifer and his team were able to test the drug’s ability to block dopamine receptors in the brains of mice with obsessive compulsions.
In addition to blocking the dopamine receptor, the drug also reduced their activity, and reduced their sensitivity to dopamine-releasing chemicals, as measured by their sensitivity and sensitivity to the chemical dopamine, according a news release.
“We found that WIN-54212-1 is able to increase dopamine activity in the striatum, a part of our reward-related brain regions, by blocking the activity associated with dopamine-like chemical signals,” Pfeiger said.
“By blocking dopamine receptors with this compound, we were able increase the sensitivity of dopamine-related circuits to dopamine.”
In the future, Pfeiffer hopes to test other drugs that block dopamine activity, such as another dopamine-blocking drug, rosiglitazone, to see if they could be used as an adjunct to WIN-5320-2 or other dopamine-reducing drugs to treat OCD, obsessive compulsion and other compulsive behaviors.
“These are just the first steps,” Pyeifer said.
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health (grants R01MH096096, R01AI072487, R21AI168897, R32AI103726 and R01AA017825), the American Psychological Association (grant NS022739) and the University College London’s Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience (granting CBNP1).