Scientists Take First Images of Key Receptors for Anxiety Transmitter

NuCalm is based on an advanced understanding of the neuroscience of anxiety. That’s why we’re always excited to see new advances in the science of anxiety.

Recently, researchers took the first images of glutamate receptors, allowing them to see the structure of the receptor and how it is opened and closed. Perhaps this can lead to an improvement of glutamate-specific anti-anxiety treatments.

What Is Glutamate?

Glutamate is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that carries messages between different cells in the brain. It is the most common neurotransmitter in the brain, accounting for up to 90% of neurotransmitters in some regions of the brain.

It is also a key player in your anxiety processes.

Glutamate and Anxiety

So what is the role of glutamate in anxiety? Anxiety is an excitatory state in the brain, and in order to promote that state, neurotransmitters have to travel from one cell to another. Glutamate is one of the key neurotransmitters that carries signals for anxiety. When glutamate levels go up, so does anxiety.

It isn’t just that glutamate increases, it’s that your body loses the balance between glutamate and GABA. The excess glutamate creates an excitation process that ultimately manifests as anxiety. This is part of the reason why GABA supplementation is such an important part of NuCalm–it helps reestablish the balance between GABA and glutamate.

Glutamate and Anxiety Treatments

Although glutamate plays a key role in anxiety, current anxiety treatments don’t target it, favoring instead the GABA or serotonin channels.

When people began to understand the key role that glutamate plays in anxiety, people started considering the role of glutamate regulation in anxiety treatments. About 10-15 years ago, people began researching this type of treatment. And about five years ago, it began to show promise, but we’re still a long way from having a glutamate-related treatment that’s effective for anxiety.

How Imaging the Receptor Could Help

Researchers announced this week that they had captured the first ever image of the AMPA subtype of glutamate receptor in action. To do this, they fused the receptor with an excitatory molecule known as stargazin, which held it open. Then they used a form of electron microscope to take two-dimensional images of the channel, which were then assembled into a 3D image.

The image shows that the four lobes of the channel move apart, like a camera aperture, to reveal a channel in the middle. The lining of this channel helps guide molecules through.

Although this particular channel isn’t related to anxiety, understanding its structure could help design treatments that don’t interfere with it, and instead target the metabotropic glutamate receptors which are.

NuCalm Treats Anxiety Now

Although we may still be years away from an effective, targeted glutamate-based anxiety treatment, NuCalm is a treatment that can effectively relieve anxiety today. To learn more about using NuCalm to overcome dental anxiety, please contact a local NuCalm dentist today.