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Cent Nerv Syst Agents Med Chem. 2009 Sep;9(3):197-204.

Sigma-1 receptors and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: clinical implications of their relationship.

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Division of Clinical Neuroscience, Chiba University Center for Forensic Mental Health, Chiba, Japan.


Endoplasmic protein sigma-1 receptors represent unique binding sites in the brain, and they exert a potent influence on a number of neurotransmitter systems. Several lines of evidence suggest that sigma-1 receptors play roles in the pathophysiology of psychiatric diseases, as well as in the active mechanisms of some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Interestingly, we reported that some SSRIs possess moderate to high affinities at sigma-1 receptors in the brain. Among them, the order of affinity for sigma-1 receptors was as follows: fluvoxamine > sertraline > fluoxetine > citalopram " paroxetine. In a cell culture system, we demonstrated that fluvoxamine, but not sertraline or paroxetine, significantly potentiated nerve-growth factor (NGF)-induced neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells, and that the effect of fluvoxamine on NGF-induced neurite outgrowth was significantly antagonized by treatment with the selective sigma-1 receptor antagonist NE-100. Furthermore, we reported that phencyclidine (PCP)-induced cognitive deficits in mice were significantly improved by subsequent subchronic administration of fluvoxamine, but not sertraline and paroxetine, and that the effect of fluvoxamine on PCP-induced cognitive deficits was antagonized by co-administration of NE-100. Moreover, a recent study using the specific sigma-1 receptor ligand [(11)C] SA4503 and positron emission tomography (PET) have demonstrated that an oral administration of fluvoxamine, but not paroxetine, could bind to sigma-1 receptors in the healthy human brain, in a dose-dependent manner. These findings suggest that sigma-1 receptors might be implicated in the active mechanisms of fluvoxamine. In this article, the author would like to discuss the novel role of sigma-1 receptors in the active mechanisms of some SSRIs including fluvoxamine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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