The Antidepressant

Kinetic and mechanistic evaluation of antidepressant medication

A Brief Overview 

Neurons in the human brain transfer information through an electrochemical process that culminates in the brain interpreting the transmitted data.  Between normal human neurons there exists a synapse through which envoy neurochemicals cross. The presynaptic, or initial neuron taking part in communication, produces chemical courier neurotransmitters. After being transported to the neuron’s external surface, these neurotransmitters are sent into the synapse and find a receptor area on the secondary, or postsynaptic, neuron. By doing so, the chemical messengers have now relayed their message, which will catalyze processes in the secondary neuron, among which include further construction of new neurotransmitters. When a surplus amount of neurotransmitters are put into the synapse, the initial neuron has the ability to reclaim this excess. Portions that go through reuptake are destroyed in the neuron and used as crude product for future undertakings. At the origin of antidepressants were the monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs, which stemmed from the tuberculosis drug iproniazid. This medication became a treatment for depression, having the ability to obstruct the elimination of recycled neurotransmitters. A heightened sense of positive mood and energy in those who were medicated came from blockage of the enzyme that disintegrated norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine.

Tricyclic antidepressants

In an analogous manner, tricyclic antidepressants hinder reprocessing of norepinephrine and serotonin, both expanding the success of the message in traveling to the second neuron and permitting neurotransmitter excess to remain in the synapses. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) categorize a set of antidepressant medications that have homologous chemical structures and efficacy. Due to depression’s perceived roots in the disproportion of neurotransmitter levels, tricyclic antidepressants promote levels of norepinephrine and serotonin while impeding the function of acetylcholine. Anafranil, Elavil, Norpramin, Pamelor, Sinequan, and Tofranil are all
commercial names of tricyclic anImipraminetidepressanst that are currently on the market, representing a now aged class of treatments combating depression. Muscarinic, histaminergic and α1-adrenergic receptors are antagonized in the action of classical TCA drugs, leading to anticholinergic (rendering inactive the neurotransmitter acetylcholine), sedative, and cardiovascular effects. In vitro, fluoxetine unites with the aforesaid receptors in the brain tissue with less efficacy than TCA drugs. As identifiable through their names, these TCAs have a three-ring chemical structure. For example,

Mechanism of Action in Tricyclic Antidepressantsin imipramine (tofranil), the crucial portions of antidepressant activity include the ring system, sidechain extent, and location of the substituent groups. In this way, the most vigorously occupied compounds are the secondary methylamines (organic compound) and a small amount of primary amines (functional group with a atom of nitrogen coupled with a lone pair). In terms of sedative action apart from imipramine’s antidepressant properties, the tertiary amines deal with this mechanism while not taking part in the prime purpose.

Mechanism of Action in Tricyclic Antidepressants

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

As opposed to TCAs, there exists a class of compounds termed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors(SSRIs), now the most prescribed antidepressant medications in numerous countries. In the creation of the SSRIs the method of rational drug design was used for the first time among the psychotropic drug class (psychoactive drugs traverse the blood-brain barrier, affecting the central nervous system of the human body and altering brain activity), where a definitive biological mark was identified and made an objective to a treatment.  An example of a prominent selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, working by delaying the reuptake of serotonin into the human platelets so the serotonin that is released remains for a longer period of time, is Prozac. The chemical formula of Prozac is C17H18F3NO (systematic name: N-Methyl-3-phenyl-3-[4-(trifluoromethyl)phenoxy]-1-propanamine. Prozac is the trade name for Fluoxetine.  The fluoxetine molecule contains a variety of functional groups. There are two phenyl groups (benzene rings), an ether, and an amine.  Prozac is also a chiral molecule, meaning that they display a symmetry to their mirror image, often causeProzacd by the location of an asymmetric carbon atom in the general structure. This is a feature to be noted due to its usages in inorganic, organic, physical, and biological chemistry. It is metabolized by CYP2D6 by the liver, characterized by its slow rate and a long half-life in the confines of the system. Slow aggregation leads to delay in the manifestation of meaningful effect. It is also an agonist for 5HT2C receptors, linking back to the first blog post on beta-agonists.

Agonists, as aforementioned in the previous post, are chemical compounds that bind to receptor area and initiate the receptor to a form of action. Contrary to an antagonist which thwarts an action, the agonist strength is strongly linked to its half maximal effective concentration, otherwise known as EC50. This is the concentration of the substance that causes an intermediate effect between a minimum and maximal point after a definite period of time. In research regimens that follow a dose response, this represents the 50% efficacy point, and correlates to the IC50 that ascertains a substance’s inhibition. The slowing of the increasing ligand concentration response is an inflection point at which the EC50 occurs. This is pertinent due to the fact that the ligand is the functional group molecule or ion that connects to a center metal atom in the creation of a coordination complex, where there is a transfer of electron pairs from the ligand to the metal element. The bonds created in the process can be characterized as ranging from the covalent strength to ionic bonds, while the bond order is conventionally from one 1-3. In most circumstances, these ligands are also Lewis bases, and in Gilbert N. Lewis’ definition, are characterized as electron-pair acceptors that have the capacity to react with a Lewis base and result in the Lewis adduct. Furthermore, the ligand is what prescribes the reactivity of the central metal atom and redox. In conditions where the oxidation state is unclear, the ligand is non-innocent, present in heme proteins and with redox not focused on the ligand. (The innocent ligand does not change in oxidation state, for example in the the reduction of MnO4 to MnO42-. As you can see, the transformation occurs in the change in oxidation state of manganese from 7+ to 6+. The oxide ligand remains at an oxidation state of 2-, though a meticulous analysis would show that the ligand is changed in an alternate way by the redox).


3D animated view of Prozac Molecule

The Mechanism of Prozac



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