Propofol exerts anti-anhedonia effects via inhibiting the dopamine transporter
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The general anaesthetic propofol could help treat the feeling of listlessness that frequently accompanies depression.
People suffering from depression and other psychiatric disorders often lose interest in everyday activities, deriving little pleasure in them. But there is little in the way of effective treatments for this symptom.
The anaesthetic propofol is sometimes used recreationally since it produces a sense of euphoria and relaxation. But how it does this was not clear.
A team led by researchers from ShanghaiTech University in China has now found that propofol inhibits the dopamine transporter through binding to it.
The dopamine transporter is known to play a key role in controlling dopamine levels and it is involved in the addictiveness of cocaine. By binding to the dopamine transporter, propofol causes dopamine to accumulate in the nucleus accumbens, a brain area involved in reward and satisfaction.
- Neuron 111 1626–1636 (2023). doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2023.02.017
|ShanghaiTech University, China
|Shanghai Mental Health Center (SMHC), China
|First Affiliated Hospital, AHMU, China
|Shanghai Sixth People's Hospital, SJTU, China