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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2014 Jan;39(1):156-68. doi: 10.1038/npp.2013.148. Epub 2013 Jun 18.

Heteromeric dopamine receptor signaling complexes: emerging neurobiology and disease relevance.

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1] Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada [2] Department of Pharmacology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The pharmacological modification of dopamine transmission has long been employed as a therapeutic tool in the treatment of many mental health disorders. However, as many of the pharmacotherapies today are not without significant side effects, or they alleviate only a particular subset of symptoms, the identification of novel therapeutic targets is imperative. In light of these challenges, the recognition that dopamine receptors can form heteromers has significantly expanded the range of physiologically relevant signaling complexes as well as potential drug targets. Furthermore, as the physiology and disease relevance of these receptor heteromers is further understood, their ability to exhibit pharmacological and functional properties distinct from their constituent receptors, or modulate the function of endogenous homomeric receptor complexes, may allow for the development of alternate therapeutic strategies and provide new avenues for drug design. In this review, we describe the emerging neurobiology of the known dopamine receptor heteromers, their physiological relevance in brain, and discuss the potential role of these receptor complexes in neuropsychiatric disease. We highlight their value as targets for future drug development and discuss innovative research strategies designed to selectively target these dopamine receptor heteromers in the search for novel and clinically efficacious pharmacotherapies.

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