Psychiatric disorders include schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disease and represent a major focus of drug discovery efforts in the CNS area. The most effective treatments have highly complex pharmacologies, but emerging therapies now target specific GPCRs in the hope of increasing efficacy while reducing unwanted side effects. It is widely accepted that the major mental illnesses are polygenetic and result from the interactions of both genetic and environmental components. The dopamine and serotonin GPCR families have figured prominently in therapeutic approaches for many of these indications.
Each disease term encompasses a spectrum of disorders, and despite recent pharmacological and genetic advances, current knowledge remains insufficient to explain underlying biochemical mechanisms. The high rates of comorbidity involved with these disorders69-71 and the abilities of drugs developed for one indication to show efficacy in treating another highlight the importance of an integrated approach in advancing our understanding of disease mechanisms and in discovering novel therapeutics.
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