Sarcosine, which is freely sold as a dietary supplement, has pharmacological activity to boost functioning of the glutamatergic N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) and hence it is a biologically rational treatment for schizophrenia. The small number of studies carried out to date provide some evidence for its efficacy and psychiatrists could consider suggesting its use to their patients.
As summarised recently, there is convergent and compelling evidence from pharmacological, autoimmune and genetic studies that impaired functioning of the glutamatergic N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) can produce psychotic symptoms and is sometimes involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. As well as binding glutamate, NMDAR possesses a modulatory site at which glycine acts as a co-agonist. Thus, this site represents a rational therapeutic target for the treatment of schizophrenia.
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