Scientists at the University of Bath have developed a potential new antidepressant and antianxiety treatment with a unique mechanism of action. The newly developed compound, known as BU10119, works in a different way to the most common antidepressant drugs such as SSRIs, in that unlike SSRIs which target the serotonin system in the brain, BU10119 works by blocking receptors called kappa opioid receptors. Blocking these receptors has been shown to have anti-depressant like effects in mice. In a series of laboratory trials, mice given BU10119 demonstrated behaviours consistent with providing antidepressant-like effects.
The researchers developed the compound after previous research by the university showed that a combination of two existing drugs, buprenorphine and naltrexone, had potential as an antidepressant. BU10119 combines the effects of this combination in one drug.
Link to research: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.14060/abstract