Metabotropic glutamate receptors as drug targets: what's new?

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HighlightsThere is still hope for a clinical use of mGlu ligands.Targeted disorders may still include schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease.Other disorders, such as SCA1 and absence epilepsy might be treated with mGlu drugs.The question in the title: ‘what's new?’ has two facets. First, are ‘clinical’ expectations met with success? Second, is the number of CNS disorders targeted by mGlu drugs still increasing? The answer to the first question is ‘no’, because development program with promising drugs in the treatment of schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, and Fragile X syndrome have been discontinued. Nonetheless, we continue to be optimistic because there is still the concrete hope that some of these drugs are beneficial in targeted subpopulations of patients. The answer to the second question is ‘yes’, because mGlu ligands are promising targets for ‘new’ disorders such as type-1 spinocerebellar ataxia and absence epilepsy. In addition, the increasing availability of pharmacological tools may push mGlu7 and mGlu8 receptors into the clinical scenario. After almost 30 years from their discovery, mGlu receptors are still alive.

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