Benzodiazepines are the most commonly used psychotropic drugs, prescribed for their action as tranquillizers, hypnotics and anti-epileptics. They act in the brain by binding to specific, highly selective recognition sites, the benzodiazepine receptors. This book, first published in 1987, summarises our knowledge of these receptors for a student and professional audience and is divided into two sections. In the first part, the general properties of the receptors and their involvement in the mechanisms of action of benzodiazepines are described. The second part discusses the function of the receptors and concludes that the system represents a novel neuronal system for the fine adjustment of brain function or for auxiliary function if the other neuronal systems fail owing to pathological defects.
Table of Contents
Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. General aspects of the benzodiazepine receptor; 3. The benzodiazepine receptor as the primary target of benzodiazepine drugs in the brain; 4. The benzodiazepine receptor as a modulatory unit of GABAergic neurotransmission; 5. The benzodiazepine receptor in human brain; 6. Is there a physiological function?; 7. Pathological changes in the benzodiazepine receptor in animals and man; 8. Drug acceptor or physiological receptor?; 9. Future aspects for therapy and research in psychiatry; Appendix 1. The benzodiazepine radioreceptor assay: a rapid and sensitive method to detect benzodiazepines in biological tissues; Appendix 2. Abbreviations; References; Index.