Anxiolytic drug discovery: What are the novel approaches and how can we improve them

Adam Michael Stewart, Allan V. Kalueff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Contemporary biological psychiatry uses experimental (animal) models to increase our understanding of affective disorder pathogenesis. Despite the well-recognized spectrum nature of affective disorders, modern anxiolytic drug discovery mainly targets specific pathways and molecular determinants within a single phenotypic domain. However, greater understanding of the integrative mechanisms and pathogenesis is essential in order to develop new effective therapies. Areas covered: In this review, the authors emphasize the importance of a 'domain interplay-oriented' approach to experimental affective research. They also highlight the need to expand the scope of anxiolytic drug targets to better understand the pathogenesis of anxiety-spectrum disorders. Expert opinion: There is the potential to markedly improve the utility of animal models for affective disorders. First, the authors suggest that one such way would be by analyzing the systems of several domains and their interplay to better understand disease pathogenesis. Further, it could also be improved by expanding the range of model species and by extending the spectrum of anxiolytic drug targets; this would help to focus on emerging and unconventional systems to better develop new therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Discovery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal models
  • Anxiety
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Hallucinogenics
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Neurobehavioral domains
  • Obesity
  • Oxytocin
  • Vagal nerve stimulation


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