WHY AREN’T SOME PATIENTS WITH MDD
For more than 50 years, major depressive disorder (MDD) pharmacological treatment approaches have focused on increasing the level of monoamine neurotransmitters in the brain, with the hope of reducing symptoms.1 And while conventional antidepressants have helped most, the STAR*D trial* found that one-third of patients didn’t achieve remission after multiple treatment attempts.2 What’s missing?
One emerging theory suggests that MDD may be linked to impaired synaptic connections in areas of the brain that regulate mood.3,4 The hypothesis points to an intriguing possibility: If synaptic connections are disrupted in MDD, can this synaptic impairment be improved?5
THE GLUTAMATE HYPOTHESIS
Scientists are honing in on the role of glutamate, a major excitatory neurotransmitter that helps regulate synaptic connectivity.6 A burst of glutamate may initiate pathways that are believed to be involved in the strengthening and formation of new synaptic connections.5 As research advances, a deeper understanding of MDD is within reach.