NOP Ligands for the Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders.Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2019; 254:233-257.HE
Many studies point toward the nociceptin/orphanin FQ (N/OFQ) and the N/OFQ peptide receptor (NOP) as targets for the development of innovative drugs for treating anxiety- and mood-related disorders. Evidence supports the view that the activation of NOP receptors with agonists elicits anxiolytic-like effects, while its blockade with NOP antagonists promotes antidepressant-like actions in rodents. Genetic studies showed that NOP receptor knockout mice display an antidepressant-like phenotype, and NOP antagonists are inactive in these animals. In contrast, the genetic blockade of NOP receptor signaling generally displays an increase of anxiety states in the elevated plus-maze test. In this chapter we summarized the most relevant findings of NOP receptor ligands in the modulation of anxiety and mood disorders, and the putative mechanisms of action are discussed.