Sigma receptors: potential targets for a new class of antidepressant drug

Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Sep;127(3):271-82. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2010.04.003. Epub 2010 May 11.


Despite the widespread and devastating impact of depression on society, our current understanding of its pathogenesis is limited. Likewise, existing treatments are inadequate, providing relief to only a subset of people suffering from depression. The search for more effective antidepressant drugs includes the investigation of new molecular targets. Among them, current data suggests that sigma receptors are involved in multiple processes effecting antidepressant-like actions in vivo and in vitro. This review summarizes accumulated evidence supporting a role for sigma receptors in antidepressant effects and provides a conceptual framework for delineating their potential roles over the course of antidepressant treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents* / pharmacology
  • Antidepressive Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Depression / metabolism
  • Drug Design*
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / metabolism
  • Receptors, sigma / agonists
  • Receptors, sigma / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter
  • Receptors, sigma