Russian scientists were able to synthesize a new short neuroactive peptide that acts on the glutamatergic system, which will help in the treatment of clinical depression. A supercomputer algorithm helped to develop the substance. The researchers’ article was published in the journal SAR and QSAR in Environmental Research .
Depression is one of the most dangerous and common mental conditions. In addition to psychotherapy, patients with moderate and severe forms of this disease are prescribed special drugs. But for 30% of people suffering from depression, these drugs are ineffective. Therefore, researchers from all over the world are looking for new compounds that would be active against this mental state. Russian specialists did not stand aside either.
Scientists from the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, the Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences have resorted to the help of a supercomputer to create a new neuropeptide that will seriously compete with American developments. In 2019, the US FDA approved the use of ketamine (a non-selective NMDA receptor blocker) to treat conventional therapy-resistant depression. There is a rapid antidepressant effect when using ketamine , but the side effects make it quite dangerous to health.
In the new work, the researchers noticed a similarity between the D- Phe- L- Tyr peptide and another NMDA receptor blocker, ifenprodil . As a result of the experimental verification for this peptide and its analogs, selected according to the results of docking and modeling of molecular dynamics, the authors found blocking of the NMDA receptor for D- Phe- L- Tyr .
Scientists managed to make this prediction using a supercomputer artificial intelligence algorithm. In the near future, the drug candidate will be tested in animal models of depressive behavior.