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Foundational Neuroscience 

Discussion: Foundational Neuroscience

Your main post in the discussion board is due by day 3.  In your main post, you must:
•    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.
•    Compare and contrast the actions of g couple proteins and ion gated channels.
•    Explain how the role of epigenetics may contribute to pharmacologic action.
•    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.

Note: please use APA format and at least 3 references, not more than 5 years.

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 Foundational Neuroscience 

• 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.

The main purpose of drugs is to alter cell activity and bring changes to the body. When medicines are taken, they bind into the receptor, which is often a specialized cell found in the cell membrane. Medications have chemical elements that bind to the receptor and cause various reactions depending on the nature of the chemical substance. The first type is an agonist, whose action is to bind on the receptor and activate it for an action that would lead to realizing the therapeutic benefits of the medication. However, antagonist while they also bind to the receptor, they do not produce any intrinsic activity. Instead, they block the receptor and prevent its activation by agonists.

On the other hand, partial and inverse agonists are substances that produce only half-effect. For example, they do not fully activate the receptor. Partial agonists thus act both as an antagonist by partially blocking the receptor and as an agonist by moderately activating the receptor. Inverse agonists produce the opposite effect expected of an agonist; thus, they decrease the constitutive activity of a receptor (Berg & Clarke, 2018). The resultant effect leads to an impact on the efficacy of the psychopharmacological treatment.

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

G-couple proteins are a large family of proteins found on the surface membrane of receptors and responsible for transmitting signals. The functions of G-proteins are diverse. Ion gated channels are a group of transmembrane ion receptors responsible for allowing ions to pass through the membrane. The first difference between G-proteins and ion gated channels is speed. In ion gated ligands, response to a signal occurs in milliseconds while in G-proteins, the response takes in seconds because of the complex coupling property of these ions. Another difference is structural where the ion-gated channels possess pentameric structure while G-protein is made of a polypeptide chain. The similarities are that both elements and membranous receptors and possess an extracellular N-terminal responsible for the binding function.

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

Epigenetics are inheritable gene changes that do not involve an alteration in the underlying DNA. Epigenetics has become relevant in pharmacology because they cause alterations associated with certain diseases such as cancer. As such, patients may fail to respond to a drug because of epigenetic alterations. Understanding these alterations is important in developing drugs whose pharmacological action is individualized based on the epigenetic properties of an individual (Rasool, et al., 2015). For instance, the development of drugs focuses on regulating epigenetic mechanisms, which then counteracts that state of disease in humans.

• Explain how this information may impact the way you prescribe medications to patients.

Psychiatric Health Nurse must fully understand the efficacy and safety of drugs used in the treatment of psychiatric conditions. For example, elderly patients present with many challenges that reduce the efficacy, safety, and effectiveness of drugs (Seeman, 2018). Elderly patients experience pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic changes that affect their response to drugs. This increases the risk of the ineffectiveness of antipsychotic drugs prescribed for an elderly patient. At the same time, these patient populations suffer from some of the most complicated diseases such as schizophrenia, which is complicated to understand and develop an effective treatment. According to MacEwan & Stefanska (2015), understanding the implications of genetics in such diseases is critical since epigenetic alterations play a role in reducing the effectiveness of drug response. Thus, it is important to understand the individual factors of a patient to prescribe antipsychotic medications that are likely to produce effects.



Berg, K. A., & Clarke, W. (2018). Making Sense of Pharmacology: Inverse Agonism and Functional Selectivity. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol, 21(10), 962–977. doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyy071.

MacEwan, D. J., & Stefanska, B. (2015). Epigenetics and pharmacology. British Journal of Pharmacology, 172(11), 2701-2704. DOI: 10.1111/bph.13136.

Rasool, M., Malik, A., Naseer, M., Manan, A., Ansari, S., & Begum, I. (2015). The role of epigenetics in personalized medicine: challenges and opportunities. BMC Med Genomics, 8(Suppl 1), S5. doi: 10.1186/1755-8794-8-S1-S5.

Seeman, M. V. (2018). Prevention of antipsychotic side effects in elderly populations. Journal of Mental Health and Aging, 2(1), DOI: 10.35841/mental-health-aging.2.1.24-28.

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