Based on the discovery of the robust antidepressant effects of ketamine in patients with depression, including those with treatment-resistant depression, agents acting on the glutamatergic system have drawn much attention as potential novel antidepressants. Among the agents acting on the glutamatergic system, preclinical data have indicated that the group II metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors, mGlu2 and mGlu3, are attractive targets for the development of novel antidepressants. The antidepressant effects of mGlu2/3 receptor antagonists have been demonstrated in rodent models, and the synaptic and neural mechanisms underlying the antidepressant effects of these compounds have been investigated. Furthermore, these findings have indicated the similarities of the antidepressant effects and of the mechanisms underlying these effects between mGlu2/3 receptor antagonists and ketamine. Based on the results obtained hitherto, here I discuss the potential for mGlu2/3 receptor antagonists to be developed as next-generation antidepressants.
Keywords: AMPA receptor; antidepressant; ketamine; mGlu2/3 receptor antagonist; neuroplasticity.
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