Table of Contents
Advances in Psychiatry
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 859735, 16 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/859735
Review Article

D-Serine in Neuropsychiatric Disorders: New Advances

1Research and Psychiatry Departments, Ezrath Nashim-Herzog Memorial Hospital, P.O. Box 3900, 91035 Jerusalem, Israel
2Hadassah Medical School, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

Received 2 February 2014; Accepted 17 April 2014; Published 19 June 2014

Academic Editor: Raphael J. Braga

Copyright © 2014 Andrea R. Durrant and Uriel Heresco-Levy. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

D-Serine (DSR) is an endogenous amino acid involved in glia-synapse interactions that has unique neurotransmitter characteristics. DSR acts as obligatory coagonist at the glycine site associated with the N-methyl-D-aspartate subtype of glutamate receptors (NMDAR) and has a cardinal modulatory role in major NMDAR-dependent processes including NMDAR-mediated neurotransmission, neurotoxicity, synaptic plasticity, and cell migration. Since either over- or underfunction of NMDARs may be involved in the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders; the pharmacological manipulation of DSR signaling represents a major drug development target. A first generation of proof-of-concept animal and clinical studies suggest beneficial DSR effects in treatment-refractory schizophrenia, movement, depression, and anxiety disorders and for the improvement of cognitive performance. A related developing pharmacological strategy is the indirect modification of DSR synaptic levels by use of compounds that alter the function of main enzymes responsible for DSR production and degradation. Accumulating data indicate that, during the next decade, we will witness important advances in the understanding of DSR role that will further contribute to elucidating the causes of neuropsychiatric disorders and will be instrumental in the development of innovative treatments.