This book was written by members of the Pharmacology Department at University College London and was based on the undergraduate teaching courses provided by the Department.
This basis is evident in the refreshingly unstuffy style of the book, and it is often easy to hear the lecturer speaking on the topic as one reads about it. This style does give rise to some unusual colloquialisms, for example NMDA receptors are described as coming in four main flavours.
Professor Webster has done an excellent job with editing this book as well as writing approximately half of it, so that the chapters are all logically organized and there is not inappropriate overlap between them.
The first section comprises a good overview of neurotransmitters, neuronal circuitry, regulation of neuronal activity and ion channels, neurotransmitter release and receptor structure and function. The second part describes drug action at receptors and pharmacokinetics, and then details specific neurotransmitters including information on agonists, antagonists, and their role in functional pathways.
There are some surprising omissions from this section, for example there is no mention of mutations of acetylcholine receptors underlying autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy. It is also indicated that no excitatory amino acid receptor antagonists have been tested clinically as antiepileptic drugs — the results of a clinical trial of D-CPP-ene were published in The section on GABA does not mention the clinically used reuptake blocker, tiagabine. The third section describes neurotransmitters in health and disease and includes a useful overview of pharmacological targets, and then the range of neurological and psychiatric conditions and their pharmacological treatments.
This section would have benefited from clinical input. The part on the clinical and electroencephalographic features of epilepsy, for example, is dated and the description of the affects of antiepileptic drugs in animal models does not include medications that have been licensed since In conclusion, this book gives a good overview and foundation of the topics covered in a very readable format that will be well suited for undergraduates studying Neurosciences.
In fast moving areas of Neuroscience, however, books are soon out of date, and readers may need to supplement this book with a Medline search of specific areas that they are interested in.
Lecture 6 - Neurotransmission and Neurotransmitters -Drugs and Human Behavior 2019
National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Br J Clin Pharmacol. Reviewed by John S Duncan.