Researchers identify new target for antidepressant drugs

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), the most commonly prescribed antidepressants, only work for 50 per cent of the population.

A paper recently published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry identifies a protein named CK2 as a potential target for future drugs.

There are fourteen different types of serotonin receptors, but it is not known which are the mediators of the therapeutic effect of SSRIs. The study’s lead author, Julia Castello, has identified CK2 as a modulator of a serotonin receptor, 5-HT4.

Manipulation of CK2 in the brain has been shown to decrease depressive and anxious states through the 5-HT4 receptor.

Castello says: ‘Identifying new targets broadens our understanding about the cause of depression as well as the mechanism of action of antidepressants, which could lead to the formulation of new antidepressants that work more efficiently and faster for more people.’

A separate study of CK2’s potential role in Parkinson’s is the subject of another research project at New York City College. Its findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience in December, identify CK2 as having a role in the molecular mechanisms that contribute to modulate L-DOPA induced dyskinesia (a muscle movement disorder).