Stephen M. Stahl, M.D., Ph.D.
Issue: Molecular biology is increasingly relevant to practicing physicians because it helps to explain the biological basis of mental disorders and especially the molecular and pharmacologic mechanism of action of psychotropic drugs. The ultimate action of neurotransmitters and drugs that act at receptors is to alter the activity of neuronal genes.
|This feature begins the first of a series
of articles on molecular neurobiology for the practicing
psychiatrist. Shown here is the "visual
vocabulary" for each of the critical elements in the
activation of neuronal genes by neurotransmitters.1
Subsequent lessons will demonstrate how each element of
this visual vocabulary relates to the others, resulting
ultimately in the expression of genes that regulate
neuronal functioning in the target neuron.
1. Stahl SM. Essential Psychopharmacology. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. In press