Affiliation: Department of Applied Chemistry, Dongduk Women's University, 23-1 Wolgok-dong, Sungbukku, Seoul 136-714, Korea.
A target-based approach has been used to develop novel drugs in many therapeutic fields. However, this approach remains suboptimal for drug discovery in brain disorders because the target identification in a brain disorder requires a hierarchical integration from in vitro cellular and functional tissue studies to animal models that sustain neuronal and glial complexity. Although glial cells comprise over half of the brain and play important roles in brain function and disease, the intracellular signaling of glial cells remains essentially unexplored. This is because the lack of optimal strategy to selectively activate or deactivate glial signaling has made it difficult to study glial roles. The recent development of approaches using mouse models and enabling the selective activation of cell signaling could be used to assess the role of glial cells in physiology and disease. This review presents how glial G- protein signaling contributes to brain disorders and how the role of glia is investigated.