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Possible Nasal Spray for Depression

nasal spray for depressionNew research has found a possible nasal spray for depression treatment that delivers a peptide through the nose.[1] This research has built upon past research by molecular neuroscientist Fang Liu, PhD, who developed a protein peptide that provided a targeted approach to treating depression with minimal side effects.1 The peptide was found to interact with dopamine receptors, relieving symptoms in a way comparable to antidepressants.1

This new research has developed a way to get the peptide to the brain. If taken orally, it would not cross the blood-brain barrier sufficiently.1 With a Proof of Principle grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Liu and her colleagues were able to further explore more efficient delivery methods.1 They found that delivering the peptide through a nasal spray allowed it to sufficiently cross the blood-brain barrier.1

“Clinically, we needed to find a non-invasive, convenient method to deliver this peptide treatment,” said Liu. “This study marks the first time a peptide treatment has been delivered through nasal passageways to treat depression. The peptide treatment interferes with the binding of two dopamine receptors—the D1 and D2 receptor complex. Our team has found that this binding was higher in the brains of people with major depression. Disrupting the binding led to the antidepressant effects.”1

This peptide is an entirely new approach to the treatment of depression, which has historically relied on medicines that block serotonin or norepinephrine transporters.1 While depression is the most common form of mental illness, it is also one of the leading causes of disability.1 More than half of people who live with depression do not respond to first-line drug treatment.1 Liu and her colleagues believe that their research has brought them closer to clinical trials and an alternative treatment.1

Currently, Liu and colleagues are experimenting with the peptide, to see if they can make it break down more slowly and travel more quickly to the brain.1 This would improve its antidepressant effects.1



[1] Nauert, R. (2014). Nasal Spray for Depression Found Effective in Animal Studies. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/03/25/nasal-spray-for-depression-found-effective-in-animal-studies/67589.html

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