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Benzodiazepines are a group of drugs with broad therapeutic applications as anxiolytics, hypnotics, anticonvulsants, and muscle relaxants. To exert their therapeutic and pharmacological effects, they appear to interact with a brain-specific benzodiazepine receptor characterized by a high-affinity binding site for this group of compounds.
In analogy to the identification of morphine receptors in the brain and the subsequent isolation of opioid peptides, the discovery of the benzodiazepine receptor has triggered the search for an endogenous brain component that can physiologically exhibit benzodiazepine-like effects.
The authors describe on Nature the isolation and benzodiazepine-like effects of nicotinamide, a compound that could physiologically exert these effects in the brain.
Nicotinamide is a brain constituent with benzodiazepine-like actions
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