Trodusquemine is an aminosterol with a structure similar to that of squalamine. In 2000, M. Zasloff and co-workers at Magainin Pharmaceuticals (Plymouth Meeting, PA) isolated it from the dogfish shark Squalus acanthias.
Trodusquemine, an inhibitor of the phosphatase enzyme PTP1B that is found in the amygdala of the mammalian brain, has been evaluated as an obesity-fighting drug. More recently, H.-H. Chen and her colleagues at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (ON) observed that increased PTP1B activity disrupts endocannabinoid signaling, which causes anxiety. They found that administering trodusquemine to mice with high PTP1B activity restores endocannabinoid levels and reduces the animals' anxiety.
Trodusquemine's activity is more targeted than that of current antianxiety drugs such as alprazolam, which calm excited neurons throughout the brain. Chen believes that trodusquemine or similar compounds could be developed as treatments for anxiety.
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