Neurotransmitters and Receptor Theory

Receptors and neurotransmitters are like a lock-and-key system. Just as it takes the right key to open a specific lock, it takes the right neurotransmitter to bind to a specific receptor. Not surprisingly, as it concerns psychopharmacology, the pharmacotherapeutics that are prescribed must trigger the release of certain neurotransmitters that bind to the correct receptors in order to elicit a favorable response for the patient. The mechanism of this binding and the response that follows reflects receptor theory and lies at the foundation of pharmacology.

This week, you will continue your examination of neuroanatomy and neuroscience as you engage with you colleagues in a Discussion. You will also explore the potential impacts of foundational neuroscience on the prescription of pharmacotherapeutics.

Students will:

· Analyze the agonist-to-antagonist spectrum of action of psychopharmacologic agents

· Compare the actions of g couple proteins to ion gated channels

· Analyze the role of epigenetics in pharmacologic action

· Analyze the impact of foundational neuroscience on the prescription of medications

Required Reading

Camprodon, J. A., & Roffman, J. L. (2016). Psychiatric neuroscience: Incorporating pathophysiology into clinical case formulation. In T. A. Stern, M. Favo, T. E. Wilens, & J. F. Rosenbaum. (Eds.), Massachusetts General Hospital psychopharmacology and neurotherapeutics (pp. 1–19). Elsevier.  

Neuroanatomy videos http:neuroanatomycalvideos.html

Discussion: Foundational Neuroscience

As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, it is essential for you to have a strong background in foundational neuroscience. In order to diagnose and treat patients, you must not only understand the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders but also how medications for these disorders impact the central nervous system. These concepts of foundational neuroscience can be challenging to understand. Therefore, this Discussion is designed to encourage you to think through these concepts, develop a rationale for your thinking, and deepen your understanding by interacting with your colleagues.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Cultura RF

For this Discussion, review the Learning Resources and reflect on the concepts of foundational neuroscience as they might apply to your role as the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner in prescribing medications for patients.

Post a response to each of the following:

1. Explain the agonist-to-antagonist spectrum of action of psychopharmacologic agents, including how partial and inverse agonist functionality may impact the efficacy of psychopharmacologic treatments.

2. Compare and contrast the actions of g couple proteins and ion gated channels.

3. Explain how the role of epigenetics may contribute to pharmacologic action.

4. Explain how this information may impact the way you prescribe medications to patients. Include a specific example of a situation or case with a patient in which the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner must be aware of the medication’s action.