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Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2004 Jul;13(7):799-828.

The therapeutic potential of CRF1 antagonists for anxiety.

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Department of Neuropharmacology, The Scripps Research Institute, CVN-7, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Preclinical studies suggest that the brain corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) systems mediate anxiety-like behavioural and somatic responses through actions at the CRF1 receptor. CRF1 antagonists block the anxiogenic-like effects of CRF and stress in animal models. Cerebrospinal fluid levels of CRF are elevated in some anxiety disorders and normalise with effective treatment, further implicating CRF systems as a therapeutic target. Prototypical CRF1 antagonists are highly lipophilic, non-competitive antagonists of peptide ligands. Modification of the chemotype and the identification of novel pharmacophores are yielding more drug-like structures with increased hydrophilicity at physiological pHs. Newer compounds exhibit improved solubility, pharmacokinetic properties, potency and efficacy. Several clinical candidates have entered Phase I/II trials. However, unmet challenges await resolution during further discovery, clinical development and therapeutic application of CRF1 antagonists.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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