This past decade has led to many significant advances in the understanding of the function of excitatory amino acids in synaptic transmission. The cloning of the ionotropic and metabotropic glutamate receptor families of receptor proteins has produced new strategies for the pharmacological modulation of glutamate transmission. The engineering of transgenic animals with modified expression of receptor proteins has created new insights into the function, dysfunction and possible pathology causally related to glutamate receptors. Advances in the pharmacology of glutamate receptors has lead to clinical research addressing multiple therapeutic applications of drugs that act on excitatory amino acid systems. A number of NMDA receptor antagonists have now been studied in humans. AMPA/kainate and metabotropic receptor active compounds have left the preclinical realm of research and have moved towards or are in the clinic.
This book is a collection of reports from participants of the meeting on "Excitatory Amino Acids: Ten Years Later” Manaus '98. This conference brought together an interdisciplinary group of scientists working on different aspects of molecular biology, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology of glutamatergic systems. These presentations shed light on the role of glutamate receptors, ion channels, proteins, physiological and pharmacological actions in animal models, involvement in etiology of human psychiatric and neurological disorders, and recent reports on clinical experiences with drug candidates.
It is certain that scientists from a variety of disciplines including neuroscience, physiology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, genetics, molecular biology, and medicine will benefit from the information in this book. We hope that the next 10 years will be as or even more productive to the excitatory amino acids field.