Research Topic

Modulation of NMDA Receptors: From Bench Side to Clinical Applications in Psychiatry

About this Research Topic

N-methyl -D- aspartate receptors (NMDARs) have a complex role in brain development and the homeostasis of cell activity. Any disruption in its proper signaling can result in various neuropsychiatric presentations from mood disorders such as depression to thought process disorders such as schizophrenia, substance-induced psychosis, Huntington’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
NMDAR antagonists such as phencyclidine and ketamine have been used for many years in animal and clinical studies providing valuable knowledge on NMDARs function and role in the central nervous system. Recently the NMDAR antagonist, esketamine, has been approved for the treatment of treatment-resistant depression representing the first truly new medication for major depression in decades. Additionally, growing evidence suggests that the glycine site of NMDARs could be a promising target for the treatment of depression and cognitive dysfunction in different psychiatric disorders and several glycine site modulators are currently undergoing clinical trials.

The goal of this Research Topic is to solicit input from researchers from both sides of the field on the latest advances on NMDARs role in normal brain function as well as in different disease states. We particularly encourage Original Research exploring the use of NMDAR modulators in laboratory and clinical work. Both hyper and hypoactivation of NMDAR could have adverse outcomes and it is important to understand the potential risks and benefits of its modulation.
This Research Topic will highlight recent advances in knowledge on the function of NMDAR in brain development, its role in the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders, and potential clinical applications of NMDAR channel blockers and NMDA receptor enhancers in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.

We welcome articles addressing but not limited to the following subtopics:
• Role of NMDA receptors in brain development and brain function
• Use of NMDA receptor antagonists in animal studies of psychiatric illnesses
• Role of kynurenic acid, the endogenous NMDA receptor antagonist, in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia
• The glycine site of NMDA receptor – a new target in the treatment of psychiatric disorders
• The role of D -Serine, co-agonist of the NMDA receptor, in depression and schizophrenia
• NMDA receptor antagonists in clinical trials - lessons learned and future prospects


Keywords: Brain Development, Depression, Kynurenic Acid, NMDAR, Schizophrenia


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

N-methyl -D- aspartate receptors (NMDARs) have a complex role in brain development and the homeostasis of cell activity. Any disruption in its proper signaling can result in various neuropsychiatric presentations from mood disorders such as depression to thought process disorders such as schizophrenia, substance-induced psychosis, Huntington’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
NMDAR antagonists such as phencyclidine and ketamine have been used for many years in animal and clinical studies providing valuable knowledge on NMDARs function and role in the central nervous system. Recently the NMDAR antagonist, esketamine, has been approved for the treatment of treatment-resistant depression representing the first truly new medication for major depression in decades. Additionally, growing evidence suggests that the glycine site of NMDARs could be a promising target for the treatment of depression and cognitive dysfunction in different psychiatric disorders and several glycine site modulators are currently undergoing clinical trials.

The goal of this Research Topic is to solicit input from researchers from both sides of the field on the latest advances on NMDARs role in normal brain function as well as in different disease states. We particularly encourage Original Research exploring the use of NMDAR modulators in laboratory and clinical work. Both hyper and hypoactivation of NMDAR could have adverse outcomes and it is important to understand the potential risks and benefits of its modulation.
This Research Topic will highlight recent advances in knowledge on the function of NMDAR in brain development, its role in the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders, and potential clinical applications of NMDAR channel blockers and NMDA receptor enhancers in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.

We welcome articles addressing but not limited to the following subtopics:
• Role of NMDA receptors in brain development and brain function
• Use of NMDA receptor antagonists in animal studies of psychiatric illnesses
• Role of kynurenic acid, the endogenous NMDA receptor antagonist, in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia
• The glycine site of NMDA receptor – a new target in the treatment of psychiatric disorders
• The role of D -Serine, co-agonist of the NMDA receptor, in depression and schizophrenia
• NMDA receptor antagonists in clinical trials - lessons learned and future prospects


Keywords: Brain Development, Depression, Kynurenic Acid, NMDAR, Schizophrenia


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

01 March 2021 Abstract
01 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

01 March 2021 Abstract
01 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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