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 Concepts of Foundational Neuroscience 

 Concepts of Foundational Neuroscience 

Share how and why your colleagues’ posts influenced your knowledge of these issues. Add any other information you learned.




 Concepts of Foundational Neuroscience


Psychopharmacological agents are medications that are used in the treatment of psychiatric disorders and that act on the central nervous system. These concepts can be quite tough to decipher and foster effective treatment but are worth the help in psychiatry diagnosis. This discussion hereby focuses on the agonist-to-antagonist spectrum of action, compares and contrasts the g proteins and ion-gated channels, investigates how epigenetics contributes to pharmacologic action, and finally establishes the effect of this information in medication prescription to patients.

                                                                                      Agonist-to-Antagonist Spectrum of Action of Psychopharmacologic Agents

A better understanding of the spectrum of action in relation to agonist and antagonist drugs is necessary for the correct utilization of pharmacological medications. Agonists are drugs that bind to receptors and produce an active effect that triggers the neuron and neurotransmitters (Di Pizio et al., 2016). Contrastingly, antagonists block the binding of the same receptors, thus reducing their response.  Similarly, the functionality of the partial and inverse agonists affects the effectiveness of psychopharmacological treatments. This is because partial agonists hold an intrinsic response that is lower than that of the full agonist, while inverse agonists tend to bind the same receptors as an agonist, but reduces the activity of the receptors. That said, this spectrum of action is significant when offering prescriptions to ensure patients do not encounter defective effects from medication.

                                                                                      Actions of G-Couple Proteins and Ion Gated Channels

G-Couple Proteins (GPC) are receptors for extracellular compounds that are responsible for transmitting signals to the protein in the cell membrane called the guanine nucleotide-binding protein (Yudin & Rohacs, 2019). Inversely, Ion gated channels are proteins existing in the cell membrane that acts as a gate, enabling the movement of ions through them depending on the electrical state of the channel. Both the ion-gated channels and GPCs react to neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, but they vary in how they transmit since one is channel based while the other is receptor-based. As such, the Ion gated channels enable neurons to regulate their electrical potential, and G-coupled proteins affect cell physiology by triggering second messenger systems.

                                                                                     Role of Epigenetics to Pharmacologic Action

Epigenetics refers to the study of how gene expression changes, and how this is passed on from one generation to another. It entails DNA chemical modifications that adjust the expression of genes, hence influencing pharmacologic actions. For example, the interaction of some epigenetic elements with certain drugs results in a change in the expression of some target genes. Overall, it is important to consider epigenetics whenever considering the prescription of any medication since the expression of some target genes can be affected.

                                                                                     Impact in Prescribing Medications

When prescribing medication for a patient who is defined by their genetic makeup and environmental variables, a healthcare practitioner may benefit immensely from knowledge of epigenetics and how it affects pharmacologic action (Peedicayil, 2019). For instance, knowing how certain drugs combine with certain epigenetic factors can help the doctor prevent any negative side effects that could arise from improper prescribing. As such, it is notable that epigenetics can effectively reveal why medications taken by different people lead to different reactions, with some posing more sensitive reactions than others do. Therefore, psychiatric and mental health practitioners need to understand foundational neuroscience to provide comprehensive treatment and prescribe appropriate medications for their patients.



Di Pizio, A., Levit, A., Slutzki, M., Behrens, M., Karaman, R., & Niv, M. Y. (2016). Comparing Class, A GPCRs to bitter taste receptors: Structural motifs, ligand interactions, and agonist-to-antagonist ratios. Methods in cell biology, 132, 401-427.

Peedicayil, J. (2019). Pharmacoepigenetics and pharmacoepigenomics: an overview. Current drug discovery technologies, 16(4), 392-399.

 Yudin, Y., & Rohacs, T. (2019). The G‐protein‐biased agents PZM21 and TRV130 are partial agonists of μ‐opioid receptor‐mediated signaling to ion channels. British journal of pharmacology, 176(17), 3110-3125.

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