Anxiety and stress-related disorders, namely posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (ODC), social and specific phobias, and panic disorder, are a major public health issue. A growing body of evidence suggests that glutamatergic neurotransmission may be involved in the biological mechanisms underlying stress response and anxiety-related disorders. The glutamatergic system mediates the acquisition and extinction of fear-conditioning. Thus, new drugs targeting glutamatergic neurotransmission may be promising candidates for new pharmacological treatments. In particular, N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDAR) antagonists (AP5, AP7, CGP37849, CGP39551, LY235959, NPC17742, and MK-801), NMDAR partial agonists (DCS, ACPC), α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate receptors (AMPARs) antagonists (topiramate), and several allosteric modulators targeting metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) mGluR1, mGluR2/3, and mGluR5, have shown anxiolytic-like effects in several animal and human studies. Several studies have suggested that polyamines (agmatine, putrescine, spermidine, and spermine) may be involved in the neurobiological mechanisms underlying stress-response and anxiety-related disorders. This could mainly be attributed to their ability to modulate ionotropic glutamate receptors, especially NR2B subunits. The aim of this review is to establish that glutamate neurotransmission and polyaminergic system play a fundamental role in the onset of anxiety-related disorders. This may open the way for new drugs that may help to treat these conditions.
- Fear conditioning