Antidepressant directly stimulates brain growth factor receptors

Brain surrounded by pillsThe widely used antidepressant and pain medication amitriptyline–but not other closely related drugs — can impersonate the brain’s own growth factors, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have shown.

The results are published online and will appear in the June 26 issue of the journal Chemistry & Biology.

Amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant first introduced in the 1960s, and other tricyclics are thought to exert their effects by increasing the levels of the messenger chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.

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