Synaptic plasticity and neuropathology:
new approaches in drug discovery

Spedding M, Lestage P.
Institut de Recherches Servier,
Suresnes, France.
Med Sci (Paris). 2005 Jan;21(1):104-9.


Neuronal plasticity is now known to be very important in the adult, both in the formation of new synaptic connections and of new neurones (neurogenesis) and of glial cells. However, old age and stress can inhibit this plasticity and lead to cerebral atrophy. The time course of changes in neuronal plasticity involves, in the first milliseconds to seconds, changes in synaptic strength (long term potentialisation, LTP, or long term depression, LTD), then, over minutes to hours, changes in the number of synaptic connections (linked to changes in neurotrophic factors), and over weeks to months, to changes in neuronal reconfiguration. These changes in brain systems are particularly targeted in psychiatric disorders to the areas which are sensitive to stress and play roles in memory and emotion (hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex). The discovery and development of drugs modifying neuronal plasticity and neurotrophins production has been a priority for Servier research for the last ten years; Servier has a clinically effective antidepressant, tianeptine (Stablon), with a favourable side effect profile, but which does not inhibit the uptake of serotonin, or other monoamines. However, this drug can reverse the deleterious effects of stress on neuronal plasticity, thereby acting on the causes of psychiatric disorders. Furthermore, a new research area is being investigated - facilitation of AMPA receptors, favouring the production of neurotrophic factors.
Aging mice
Asthma prevention
Anxious depression
Tianeptine (Stablon)
Tianeptine: structure
Tianeptine and Panic Disorder
The glia glutamate transporter
Ethanol withdrawal and tianeptine
Discriminative stimulus properties
Tianeptine, stress and synaptic plasticity
Neurobiology of mood, anxiety and emotion
Effect of tianeptine on growth hormone secretion
Major depression and impaired structural plasticity
Synaptic plasticity in tianeptine-treated tree-shrews

and further reading

Future Opioids
BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World

The Good Drug Guide
The Good Drug Guide

The Responsible Parent's Guide
To Healthy Mood Boosters For All The Family