Unlocking secrets of key compound in memory and addiction

The role of one of the brain’s key chemical messengers in detail.

Unlocking secrets of key compound in memory and addiction
Image: Imperial College London.

Dopamine carries signals between nerve cells throughout the brain and plays important roles in everything from learning, memory, and attention, to motivation and reward.

However, as most medicines designed for the human brain are not able to selectively target individual brain systems, studying its effect on specific brain processes has been a major challenge for neuroscientists.

But now a new project led by Professor David Nutt, from the Department of Medicine, will use a pharmaceutical compound to investigate the role of the main dopamine receptor in the brain – the D1 receptor, which is believed to play a vital role in attention, concentration, and addiction to tobacco and other substances.

The Tools for Human Neuroscience Drug Research (THuNDR2) task will give researchers a profoundly particular, safe compound called ADX10061 to address a progression of key inquiries in human brain science, including the job of dopamine independence and focusing on its receptors to break the cycle.

Professor David Nutt, Edmund J Safra Chair in Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial said, “THuNDR2 is a landmark biomedical resource funded by Wellcome that will provide a much-needed boost to human experimental neuroscience both in the UK and across the world for many years to come.”

Scientists discovered ADX10061 and have investigated its use in smoking cessation, drug abuse, schizophrenia and sleep disorders – conditions in which dopamine receptors are known to play a key role – the THuNDR2 group will produce the compound to medical standards for human research.

One key inquiry that the Imperial group will address Is job of the dopamine D1 receptor in dependence on drugs, for example, alcohol and smoking, the two of which appear to discharge dopamine in the mind.

The group likewise mean to make the compound accessible to the other UK and global psychopharmacology analysts completing pertinent activities.

Professor Nutt added: “Many research groups in the UK, US, and Europe are interested in obtaining supplies for their projects, so this landmark grant will provide a vital boost to human brain research across the globe.”

The group also aim to make the compound available to the other UK and international psychopharmacology researchers carrying out relevant projects, making it part of the ECNP medicines chest initiative.