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Nature 278, 563 - 565 (05 April 1979); doi:10.1038/278563a0

Nicotinamide is a brain constituent with benzodiazepine-like actions

H. MÖHLER, P. POLC, R. CUMIN, L. PIERI & R. KETTLER

Pharmaceutical Research Department, F. Hoffmann-La Roche & Co. Ltd, 4002 Basle, Switzerland

BENZODIAZEPINES are a group of drugs with wide therapeutic application as anxiolytics, hypnotics, anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants. To exert their therapeutic and pharmacological effects, they apparently interact with a brain-specific benzodiazepine receptor characterised by a high-affinity binding site for this group of compounds1,2. In analogy to the identification of morphine receptors in the brain and the subsequent isolation of opioid peptides, the discovery of the benzodiazepine receptor prompted the search for an endogenous brain constituent, which physiologically may display benzodiazepine-like actions3. We describe here the isolation and benzodiazepine-like actions of nicotinamide, a compound which might exert these actions in the brain physiologically.

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