Diversity of AMPA Receptor Ligands: Chemotypes, Binding Modes, Mechanisms of Action, and Therapeutic Effects

Biomolecules. 2022 Dec 27;13(1):56. doi: 10.3390/biom13010056.


L-Glutamic acid is the main excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS). Its associated receptors localized on neuronal and non-neuronal cells mediate rapid excitatory synaptic transmission in the CNS and regulate a wide range of processes in the brain, spinal cord, retina, and peripheral nervous system. In particular, the glutamate receptors selective to α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) also play an important role in numerous neurological disorders and attract close attention as targets for the creation of new classes of drugs for the treatment or substantial correction of a number of serious neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases. For this reason, the search for various types of AMPA receptor ligands and studies of their properties are attracting considerable attention both in academic institutions and in pharmaceutical companies around the world. This review focuses mainly on the advances in this area published since 2017. Particular attention is paid to the structural diversity of new chemotypes of agonists, competitive AMPA receptor antagonists, positive and negative allosteric modulators, transmembrane AMPA regulatory protein (TARP) dependent allosteric modulators, ion channel blockers as well as their binding sites. This review also presents the studies of the mechanisms of action of AMPA receptor ligands that mediate their therapeutic effects.

Keywords: AMPA receptor; antagonists; glutamatergic system; mechanism of action; modulators; molecular modeling.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / metabolism
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Receptors, AMPA* / metabolism
  • Receptors, Glutamate*
  • alpha-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic Acid / metabolism


  • Receptors, AMPA
  • alpha-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic Acid
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Glutamic Acid