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1.  Characterization of tachykinin receptors in the uterus of the oestrogen-primed rat 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1998;123(2):259-268.
The aim of our study was to characterize the tachykinin receptor population in the oestrogen-primed rat uterus. For this purpose, we investigated the receptor type(s) responsible for tachykinin-induced contraction of longitudinally-arranged smooth muscle layer. The effects of substance P (SP), neurokinin A (NKA), neurokinin B (NKB) and several of their analogues with well-defined selectivities for tachykinin NK1, NK2 and NK3 receptors were studied and their inhibition by the selective nonpeptide tachykinin receptor antagonists (S)1-(2-[3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1-(3-isopropoxyphenylacetyl)piperidin-3-yl]ethyl)-4-phenyl-1-azoniabicyclo[2.2.2]octane chloride (SR 140333, NK1-selective), (S)-N-methyl-N[4-(4-acetylamino-4-phenylpiperidino)-2-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)butyl]benzamide (SR 48968, NK2-selective) and (R)-(N)-(1-(3-(1-benzoyl-3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)piperidin-3-yl)propyl)- 4-phenylpiperidin- 4-yl)-N- methylacetamide (SR 142801, NK3-selective) was evaluated. Additionally, expression of tachykinin receptor mRNA was examined by using the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).SP, NKA, [Nle10]-NKA(4-10), the analogue with selectivity at the tachykinin NK2 receptor type, and NKB elicited concentration-dependent contractions of the rat uterus. The pD2 values were 5.95±0.19; 6.73±0.21; 7.53±0.12 and 5.76±0.21, respectively. The selective agonist for the tachykinin NK1 receptor [Sar9Met(O2)11]-SP produced a small phasic response in the nanomolar concentration range. The selective tachykinin NK3 receptor agonist [MePhe7]-NKB failed to induce any significant contraction.In the presence of the neutral endopeptidase inhibitor phosphoramidon (1 μM), the log concentration-response curves to exogenous tachykinins and their analogues were shifted significantly leftwards. The pD2 values were 6.12±0.10, 8.04±0.07, 7.89±0.03 and 6.59±0.07 for SP, NKA, [Nle10]-NKA(4-10) and NKB, respectively. In the presence of phosphoramidon (1 μM), [Sar9Met(O2)11]-SP (1 nM–0.3 μM) induced concentration-dependent contractions of increasing amplitude when only one concentration of drug was applied to each uterine strip and the pD2 value was 7.61±0.89. [MePhe7]-NKB induced small, inconsistent contractions and, therefore, a pD2 value could not be calculated.In experiments performed in the presence of phosphoramidon (1 μM), SR 48968 (3 nM–0.1 μM) caused parallel and rightward shifts in the log concentration-response curves of NKA. The calculated pKB value was 9.16±0.08 and the slope of the Schild regression was 1.28±0.24. SR 48968 (0.1 μM) also antagonized responses to SP with an apparent pKB value of 7.63±0.13. SR 48968 (0.1 μM) inhibited contractions elicited by NKB (1 nM–3 μM) and [Nle10]-NKA(4–10) (0.1 nM–3 μM) but had no effect on the response evoked by [Sar9Met(O2)11]-SP (0.1 μM).SR 140333 (0.1 μM) inhibited responses to SP with an apparent pKB value of 7.19±0.22. This compound did not significantly affect responses to NKA, [Nle10]-NKA(4-10) and NKB, but suppressed [Sar9Met(O2)11]-SP (0.1 μM)-induced contraction. SR 142801 (0.1 μM) had no effect on responses to natural tachykinins or their analogues.Total RNA was extracted from some of the uteri used in functional studies. RT-PCR assays revealed single bands corresponding to the expected product sizes encoding cDNA for tachykinin NK1 (587 base pairs) and NK2 receptors (491 base pairs) (n=6 different animals). A very low abundance transcript corresponding to the 325 base pairs product expected for the tachykinin NK3 receptor was detected.The present data show that functionally active tachykinin NK1 and NK2 receptors are expressed in the oestrogen-primed rat uterus. The NK2 receptor type seems to be the most important one involved in the contractile responses elicited by tachykinins. NK3 receptors are present in trace amounts and seem not to be involved in tachykinin-induced contractions.
PMCID: PMC1565166  PMID: 9489614
Tachykinins; [Sar9Met(O2)11]-SP; [Nle10]-NKA(4-10); [MePhe7]-NKB; SR 140333; SR 48968; SR 142801; tachykinin receptor expression; rat uterus
2.  Substance P-induced cyclooxygenase-2 expression in human umbilical vein endothelial cells 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2006;147(6):681-689.
Substance P (SP) is a neuropeptide involved in neurogenic inflammation and an agonist for NK1, NK2, and NK3 receptors. SP induces prostaglandin (PG) production in various cell types, and these eicosanoids are responsible for numerous inflammatory and vascular effects.Cyclooxygenase (COX) are needed to convert arachidonic acid to PGs. The study evaluated the effect of SP on COX expression in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC).COX-2 protein expression was upregulated by SP with a peak at 100 nM and at 20 h; in the same experimental conditions COX-1 protein expression was unchanged. A correlation between COX-2 expression and PGI2 and PGE2 release was detected.Dexamethasone (DEX) inhibited SP-mediated COX-2 expression. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) p38 and p42/44 were activated by SP, whereas SB202190 and PD98059, inhibitors of these kinases, blocked COX-2 expression. 5,5-dimethyl-3-(3-fluorophenyl)-4-(4-methylsulphonyl)phenyl-2(5H)-furanone (DFU), an experimental selective COX-2 inhibitor, blocked SP-induced PG release.By RT–PCR and Western blot analysis, we demonstrated that NK1 and NK2 but not NK3 receptors are present on HUVEC. Selective NK1 and NK2 agonists, namely [Sar9, Met(O2)11]SP and [β-Ala8] NKA(4–10), upregulated COX-2 protein expression and PG production, whereas senktide (Suc–Asp–Phe–MePhe–Gly–Leu–Met–NH2), a selective NK3 agonist, was ineffective in this respect. The NK1 selective antagonist L703,606 ((cis)-2-(diphenylmethyl)-N-((2-iodophenyl)-methyl)-1-azabicyclo(2.2.2)octan-3-amine) and the NK2 selective antagonist SR 48,968 ((S)-N-methyl-N-(4-(4-acetylamino-4-phenylpiperidino)-2-(3,4 dichlorophenyl)butyl) benzamide) competitively antagonised SP-induced effects.The study shows HUVEC to possess functional NK1 and NK2 receptors, which mediate the ability of SP to induce expression of COX-2 in HUVEC, thus showing a previously-undetected effect of SP on endothelial cells.
PMCID: PMC1751347  PMID: 16432508
Substance P; cyclooxygenase-2; HUVEC; MAPKs; NK1 receptor; NK2 receptor
3.  Cardiovascular and behavioural effects of intracerebroventricularly administered tachykinin NK3 receptor antagonists in the conscious rat 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1997;122(4):643-654.
In the conscious rat, three tachykinin NK3 receptor antagonists, namely SR142801 ((S)-(N)-(1-(3-(1-benzoyl-3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)piperidin-3-yl)propyl)-4-phenylpiperidin-4-yl)-N-methylacetamide), R820 (3-indolylcarbonyl-Hyp-Phg-N(Me)-Bzl) and R486 (H-Asp-Ser-Phe-Trp-β-Ala-Leu-Met-NH2) were assessed against the intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) effects induced by senktide, a selective NK3 receptor agonist, on mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR) and motor behaviour.Senktide (10–650 pmol per animal; i.c.v; n=4–16) at the lowest dose caused a significant fall in MAP (−10±6 mmHg), while at the highest doses (100 and 650 pmol), senktide caused a rise in MAP (9±3 and 12±1 mmHg, respectively) when compared to vehicle. The intermediate doses (25 and 65 pmol) had no effect on MAP. The highest two doses caused a tachycardia of 62±15 and 88±8 beats min−1, respectively. The dose of 65 pmol had a biphasic effect on HR, an initial bradycardia of 47±12 beats min−1 followed by a tachycardia of 46±14 beats min−1. The lowest doses caused either a rise of 52±10 beats min−1 (25 pmol) or no effect (10 pmol) on HR. All doses of senktide caused similar increases in face washing, sniffing and wet dog shakes except at the dose of 100 pmol, when wet dog shakes were more than double those observed with the other doses.The antagonist SR142801 (100 pmol–65 nmol per animal; i.c.v.; n=6–8) caused increases in MAP at the highest two doses (6.5 and 65 nmol) while HR, dose-dependently, increased (23±6 to 118±26 beats min−1) and the onset dose-dependently decreased. The (R)-enantiomer, SR142806 (100 pmol–65 nmol per animal; i.c.v.; n=6–8) only caused rises in MAP (13±2 mmHg) and HR (69±11 beats min−1) at the highest dose. These drugs had no apparent effect on behaviour, except for the highest dose of SR142801 which increased sniffing. The antagonist R820 (650 pmol–6.5 nmol per animal; i.c.v.; n=6) had no effect on MAP or HR and only increased sniffing behaviour at 6.5 nmol. At 650 pmol (n=6), R486 had no effect on any variable, but at 3.25 nmol, i.c.v. (n=4) a delayed tachycardia and a significant increase in all behavioural variables were observed.The cardiovascular responses induced by 6.5 nmol SR142801 and 25 pmol senktide were inhibited by R820 (6.5 nmol, 5 min earlier i.c.v.). In contrast, R820 failed to affect the central cardiovascular and behavioural responses induced by 10 pmol [Sar9, Met(O2)11]substance P, a NK1 receptor selective agonist. The senktide-induced behavioural changes were not inhibited by R820 (6.5 nmol, i.c.v.) while R486 (650 pmol, i.c.v.) blocked both the cardiovascular and behavioural responses to 25 pmol senktide. A mixture of antagonists for NK1 (RP67580; 6.5 nmol) and NK2 (SR48968; 6.5 nmol) receptors injected i.c.v. did not affect the cardiovascular response to SR142801. Cross-desensitization was shown between the central responses to SR142801 and senktide, but not between SR142801 and [Sar9, Met(O2)11]substance P.The antagonists SR142801 and SR142806 (6.5–650 nmol kg−1; n=5–7), given i.v., did not evoke any cardiovascular or behavioural changes, except a delayed bradycardia for SR142806 (650 nmol kg−1), and also failed to inhibit the increase in MAP evoked by senktide (4 nmol kg−1, i.v.). However, at the highest dose, both drugs slightly reduced the senktide-induced tachycardia.Although the present data are consistent with the in vitro pharmacological bioassays and binding data, showing that SR142801 is a poor antagonist at rat peripheral NK3 receptors, they suggest that SR142801 has a partial agonist action at these receptors centrally. A separation of the cardiovascular and behavioural effects mediated by central NK3 receptor activation was achieved with SR142801 and R820 but not with R486. These results could be explained by the existence of NK3 receptor subtypes in the rat or by the differential activation and inhibition of the same receptor protein linked to the production of different second messengers. Differences in the pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic properties of the antagonists cannot be excluded at this time.
PMCID: PMC1564991  PMID: 9375960
Tachykinin antagonists; substance P; NK3 receptor; blood pressure; heart rate; behaviour
4.  Characterization of tachykinin receptors mediating plasma extravasation and vasodilatation in normal and acutely inflamed knee joints of the rat. 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1996;118(8):2107-2114.
1. Inflammatory actions of tachykinins in normal rat knee joints were compared with those of animals with acutely inflamed joints induced by intra-articular injection of 2% carrageenan. Plasma protein extravasation in rat knee joints, measured by protein micro-turbidimetry, was induced by intra-articular perfusion of selective tachykinin receptor agonists. Changes in joint blood flow, measured by laser Doppler perfusion imaging, were produced by topical applications of selective tachykinin receptor agonists to the joint capsule. 2. Carrageenan-injected rat knee joints showed significantly higher (P < 0.001) basal plasma extravasation (56 +/- 4 micrograms ml-1, n = 5) than normal rat knee joints (10 +/- 4 micrograms ml-1, n = 6). Intra-articular perfusion of the selective neurokinin1 (NK1) receptor agonist [Sar9, Met(O2)11]-substance P (0.8 nmol min-1) for 60 min elevated the basal plasma extravasation to 90 +/- 17 micrograms ml-1 (n = 6, P < 0.001) in normal joints, and to 150 +/- 14 micrograms ml-1 (n = 5, P < 0.001) in inflamed joints. Perfusion of the selective NK1 receptor antagonist N2-[(4R)-4-hydroxy-1-(1-methyl-1H- indol-3-yl)carbonyl-L-prolyl]-N-methyl-N-phenylmethyl-3-(2-naphthyl)- L-alaninamide (FK888; 0.8 nmol min-1) for 20 min followed by co-perfusion with the NK1 receptor agonist (0.8 nmol min-1) produced complete inhibition of the NK1 receptor agonist-induced plasma extravasation in the two groups of animals (for both groups; n = 3, P < 0.001). 3. Intra-articular perfusion of the selective NK receptor agonist [Nle10]-neurokinin A4-10 (0.8 nmol min-1) and the selective NK3 receptor agonist [MePhe7]-neurokinin B (0.8 nmol min1) produced no increase in plasma extravasation in normal or in inflamed rat knee joints (n = 4 and 11, P > 0.05). 4. Topical bolus applications of the NK1 receptor agonist [Sar9, Met(O2)11]-substance P onto normal joint capsules produced dose-dependent vasodilatation expressed as a voltage increase from control level. The maximum increase in blood flow was 2.05-0.21 V from a basal voltage of 3.42 +/- 0.07 V (n = 13, P < 0.001). To a much lesser extent, administration of the NK2 receptor agonist [Nle10]-neurokinin A4-10 also produced dose-dependent vasodilatation with maximum increase of 0.46 +/- 0.08 V from a basal level of 3.38 +/- 0.1 V (n = 7, P < 0.01). Animals with acutely inflamed joints showed enhanced vasodilator responses to the NK1 and NK2 receptor agonists (for both: P vs non-inflamed joints < 0.001). Thus, the NK1 and NK2 receptor agonists produced maximum increases of 2.56 +/- 0.19 V (basal level = 5.84 +/- 0.07 V; n = 7, P < 0.001) and 1.97 +/- 0.26 V (basal level = 6.31 +/- 0.23 V; n = 11, P < 0.001), respectively. The NK3 receptor agonist [MePhe7]-neurokinin B produced no change in blood flow in normal or in inflamed rat knee joints (n = 7 and 5, P > 0.05). 5. Bolus administration of the NK1 receptor antagonist FK888 (10 pmol) alone followed 5 min later by another dose of 10 pmol FK888 (i.e. total dose of 2 x 10 pmol) applied together with the NK1 receptor selective agonist [Sar9, Met(O2)11]-substance P produced partial, but significant inhibition of the NK1 receptor agonist-induced vasodilatation in both normal (maximum response reduced by 51.9 +/- 5.4%; n = 6, P < 0.001) and inflamed rat knee joints (maximum response reduced by 49.3 +/- 6.1%; n = 5, P < 0.001). The NK2 receptor agonist [Nle10]-neurokinin A4-10-induced vasodilator responses in inflamed joints were not affected by this treatment (n = 6, P > 0.05). However, with two higher doses of FK888 (both 1 nmol), the NK1 and the NK2 receptor agonist-induced vasodilator responses were abolished in the two groups of animals (n = 6-8, P < 0.005). 6. Administration of two doses of the selective NK2 receptor antagonist (S)-N-methyl-N-[4-acetylamino-4-phenylpiperidino)-2-(3,4-dichlorophenyl) -butyl]benzamide (SR48968;...
PMCID: PMC1909878  PMID: 8864549
5.  Evidence that tachykinins relax the guinea-pig trachea via nitric oxide release and by stimulation of a septide-insensitive NK1 receptor. 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1996;117(6):1270-1276.
1. This study investigated the possibility that tachykinins relax the guinea-pig isolated trachea by releasing nitric oxide (NO) from the epithelium. The types of tachykinin receptor mediating both relaxation and contraction of the trachea were also studied. Isometric tension was recorded in isolated tracheal tube preparations precontracted with acetylcholine (10 microM) in which compounds were administered intraluminally in the presence of phosphoramidon and indomethacin (both 1 microM) and the tachykinin NK2 receptor antagonist, SR 48,968 ((S)-N-methyl-N[4-(4-acetyl amino-4-phenylpiperidino)-2-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)butyl]benzamide), 0.1 microM). 2. In the presence of the inactive enantiomer of an NO-synthase inhibitor, NG-monomethyl-D-arginine (D-NMMA, 100 microM), substance P (SP), neurokinin A (NKA), neurokinin B (NKB) and the selective NK1 receptor agonist, [Sar9, Met(O2)11]-SP, (0.1-10 nM) relaxed tracheal tube preparations. This relaxation was changed into a contraction by pretreatment with the NO-synthase inhibitor, NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA, 100 microM). The effect of L-NMMA on SP- and [Sar9, Met(O2)11]-SP-induced responses was reversed by L-arginine (L-Arg, 1 mM), but not by D-Arg (1 mM). After removal of the epithelium SP, NKA and NKB and [Sar9, Met(O2)11]-SP (0.1-10 nM) evoked contractile responses in the presence of either L-NMMA (100 microM) or D-NMMA (100 microM). The effects of SP and [Sar9, Met(O2)11]-SP obtained in the presence of another NO-synthase inhibitor, NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME, 100 microM) or its inactive enantiomer, NG-nitro-D-arginine methyl ester (D-NAME, 100 microM) were similar to those observed with L-NMMA or D-NMMA, respectively. 3. The selective NK1 receptor agonist, [pGlu6, Pro9]-SP(6-11) (septide, 0.1-10 nM) evoked contractile responses of tracheal tube preparations in the presence of either D-NMMA (100 microM) or L-NMMA (100 microM). The log concentration-response curve to septide obtained in the presence of L-NMMA was similar to that obtained in the presence of D-NMMA. [Sar9, Met(O2)11]-SP (0.1-10 nM) relaxed tracheal tube preparations precontracted with septide (1 microM), whereas septide (0.1 nM-1 microM) further contracted tracheal tube preparations precontracted with [Sar9, Met(O2)11]-SP (1 microM). 4. Relaxant and contractile responses evoked by SP, NKA, NKB and by [Sar9, Met(O2)11]-SP (0.1-10 nM) were not affected by a combination of the histamine H1 (pyrilamine, 1 microM) and H2 (cimetidine, 1 microM) receptor antagonists, but were abolished by the tachykinin NK1 receptor antagonist, CP-99,994 ((2S,3S)-3-(2-methoxybenzylamino)-2-phenylpiperidine, 1 microM), though not by its inactive enantiomer CP-100,263 (1 microM). Contractile responses evoked by septide (10 nM and 1 microM) were also abolished by CP-99,994 (1 microM) but not by CP-100,263 (1 microM). 5. These results demonstrate that tachykinins relax guinea-pig tracheal tube preparations by releasing NO via the stimulation of epithelial NK1 receptors by a mechanism independent of histamine release. The NK1 receptor type involved is sensitive to SP, NKA, NKB and [Sar9, Met(O2)11]-SP but not to septide, and is pharmacologically distinct from the NK1 receptor that mediates contraction, which is stimulated by all the agonists, including septide.
PMCID: PMC1909790  PMID: 8882625
6.  Tachykinin receptor antagonists inhibit hyperpnea-induced bronchoconstriction in guinea pigs. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1993;92(1):315-323.
We tested the hypothesis that hyperpnea-induced bronchoconstriction (HIB) and hyperpnea-induced bronchovascular hyperpermeability (HIBVH) are mediated through stimulation of NK-1 and NK-2 receptors in guinea pigs. We first established the efficacy and selectivity of (+/-) CP-96,345 (3 mg/kg i.v.) and of SR-48,968 (300 micrograms/kg i.v.) as NK-1 and NK-2 antagonists, respectively. (+/-) CP-96,345 substantially attenuated bronchoconstriction and systemic vascular leak caused by administration of Sar9,Met(O2)11-Substance P (a specific NK-1 agonist), but had no effect upon bronchoconstriction induced by selective NK-2 stimulation with Nle10-Neurokinin A[4-10]. Conversely, SR-48,968 antagonized the bronchoconstrictor response to Nle10-NKA[4-10], right-shifting the dose-response curve by 2 log units, but had no effect on Sar9, Met(O2)11-SP-induced bronchoconstriction. Anesthetized, tracheostomized, opened-chest male Hartley guinea pigs were pretreated with (+/-) CP-96,345 (3 mg/kg i.v.), SR-48,968 (300 micrograms/kg i.v.), or their respective vehicles, and Evans blue dye (30 mg/kg i.v.) to label circulating albumin. 10 min isocapnic dry gas hyperpnea (12 ml/kg, 150 breaths/min) provoked HIB and HIBVH in vehicle-treated animals. (+/-) CP-96,345 reduced the magnitude of HIB by one-half (peak posthyperpnea RL 7.8 +/- 1.9 [SE] times prehyperpnea baseline versus 16.1 +/- 2.6, vehicle-treated; P < or = 0.0001, ANOVA); SR-48,968 blocked HIB more completely (peak posthyperpnea RL 5.1 +/- 1.7 [SE] times prehyperpnea baseline versus 19.3 +/- 2.8, vehicle-treated; P < 0.0001, ANOVA). Neither drug reduced HIBVH. We conclude that dry gas hyperpnea causes bronchoconstriction in guinea pigs through activation of tachykinin receptors. The differential effects of neurokinin receptor blockade on HIB and HIBVH demonstrate that hyperpnea-induced airflow obstruction is not primarily a consequence of hyperpnea-induced bronchovascular leak.
PMCID: PMC293598  PMID: 8392088
7.  Characterization of NK3 receptors in rabbit isolated iris sphincter muscle 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1996;120(1):93-101.
Tachykinin NK3 receptors were characterized in the rabbit isolated iris sphincter muscle by use of autoradiography and in vitro functional studies.[125I]-[MePhe7]-neurokinin B (NKB) (1 nM), a selective NK3 receptor agonist, specifically labelled a population of NK3 receptors that were uniformly distributed throughout the rabbit iris sphincter muscle. This labelling was inhibited by unlabelled [MePhe7]-NKB (1 μM) but not by the NK1 receptor antagonist CP 99994 (1 μM).In the presence of CP 99994 (1 μM), the selective NK3 receptor agonists senktide (n=14) and [Pro7]-NKB (n=4), and the natural preferred ligand for the NK3 receptor, NKB (n=8), were potent contractile agents in the rabbit iris sphincter muscle. They all produced monophasic concentration-effect curves with pD2 values of 9.53±0.08, 8.56±0.09 and 9.75±0.09, and nH values of 0.93±0.03, 1.53±0.17 and 0.76±0.06, respectively. [MePhe7]-NKB (n=12) was also a potent agonist, but produced shallow concentration-effect curves which appeared biphasic (nH=0.45±0.04).Contractile responses to senktide were surmountably antagonized in a concentration-dependent manner by the selective non-peptide NK3 receptor antagonist, SR 142801 (3–30 nM; pA2= 8.9; slope = 0.99) and the non-peptide NK2/NK3 receptor antagonist, SR 48968 (3–30 μM; pA2 =6.1; slope=1.5). These pA2 values were consistent with functional rabbit NK3 receptors more closely resembling guinea-pig and human NK3 receptors, than rat NK3 receptors. SR 142801 (10–100 nM) and SR 48968 (3 and 30 μM) inhibited responses to low (⩽1 nM) but not higher (>1 nM) concentrations of [MePhe7]-NKB, and concentration-effect curves to [MePhe7]-NKB became steeper and monophasic in the presence of either antagonist.SR 142801 (3–30 nM) and SR 48968 (3–30 μM) also surmountably antagonized concentration-effect curves to [Pro7]-NKB and NKB, although results were more difficult to interpret, since the relationship between log concentration-ratios and the concentration of antagonist used did not adhere to the Schild equation. However, analysis of data with the lowest concentration of SR 142801 (3 nM) tested against NKB, and SR 48968 (3 μM) tested against [Pro7]-NKB and NKB, yielded apparent pA2 estimates of 9.3, 6.8 and 6.4, respectively, consistent with blockade of NK3 receptors.SR 142801 (100 nM) had no effect on contractions induced by transmural nerve stimulation (2 Hz, 0.3 ms, 20 V for 30 s), whereas CP 99994 (1 μM) abolished these responses.Phenoxybenzamine pretreatment (20 μM, 10 min) markedly reduced maximum responses to [MePhe7]-NKB (from 101±6.2% to 38±9.5% reference contraction, n=4) and induced a marked (10 fold) rightward shift in the concentration-effect curve. The residual responses to [MePhe7]-NKB after phenoxybenzamine pretreatment were unaffected by 1 μM CP 99994 (maximum response=41±9.4%, n=4).These results demonstrate autoradiographically and functionally, the presence of NK3 receptors in rabbit iris sphincter muscle that mediate contractile responses to NK3 receptor agonists, but not to sensory trigeminal nerve stimulation. The present data with senktide and selective NK3 receptor antagonists suggest that functional rabbit NK3 receptors more closely resemble human and guinea-pig NK3 receptors than rat NK3 receptors. However, the pharmacological profiles of [MePhe7]-NKB, SR 142801 and SR 48968 suggest the presence of an ‘atypical' NK3 receptor or a heterogeneous population of NK3 receptors in this tissue.
PMCID: PMC1564344  PMID: 9117105
NK3 receptors; rabbit iris sphincter muscle; SR 142801; SR 48968; senktide; [MePhe7]-neurokinin B; neurokinin B; [Pro7]-neurokinin B
8.  The plasma protein extravasation induced by adenosine and its analogues in the rat dorsal skin: evidence for the involvement of capsaicin sensitive primary afferent neurones and mast cells 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2001;134(1):108-115.
The contribution of sensory neurons and mast cells to the oedema evoked by adenosine A1 (N6-cyclopentyladenosine, CPA, 3 – 30 nmol site−1), A2 (5′N-ethylcarboxamidoadenosine, NECA, 1 – 10 nmol site−1) and A3 receptor agonists (N6-[3-iodobenzyl]-N-methyl-5′-carboxiamidoadenosine, IB-MECA, 0.01 – 3 nmol site−1) was investigated in the rat skin microvasculature, by the extravascular accumulation of intravenously-injected (i.v.) 125I-albumin.Intradermal (i.d.) injection of adenosine and analogues induced increased microvascular permeability in a dose-dependent manner (IB-MECA > NECA > CPA > adenosine). The non-selective adenosine receptor antagonist theophylline (5 – 50 nmol site−1) markedly inhibited adenosine, CPA or NECA but not IB-MECA-induced plasma extravasation. The A1 receptor antagonist 1,3-dipropyl-8-cyclopentylxanthine (DPCPX, 0.3 – 3 μmol kg−1, i.v.) significantly reduced CPA-induced plasma extravasation whereas responses to adenosine, NECA or IB-MECA were unchanged. The A2 receptor antagonist 3,7-dymethyl-1-proprargylxanthine (DMPX, 0.5 – 50 nmol site−1) significantly reduced NECA-induced plasma extravasation without affecting responses to adenosine, CPA and IB-MECA.The tachykinin NK1 receptor antagonist (S)-1-[2-[3-(3,4-dichlorphenyl)-1 (3-isopropoxyphenylacetyl) piperidin-3-yl] ethyl]-4-phenyl-1 azaniabicyclo [2.2.2]octane chloride (SR140333), but not the NK2 receptor antagonist (S)-N-methyl-N[4-acetylamino-4-phenyl piperidino)-2-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)butyl]-benzamide (SR48968), significantly inhibited the plasma extravasation evoked by higher doses of adenosine (100 nmol site−1), CPA (100 nmol site−1), NECA (1 nmol site−1) and IB-MECA (0.1 – 1 nmol site−1). In rats treated with capsaicin to destroy sensory neurons, the response to higher doses of adenosine, CPA and NECA, but not IB-MECA, was significantly inhibited.The effects of adenosine and analogues were largely inhibited by histamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) antagonists and by compound 48/80 pretreatment.In conclusion, our results provide evidence that adenosine A1 and A2, but not A3, receptor agonists may function as cutaneous neurogenic pro-inflammatory mediators; acting via microvascular permeability-increasing mechanisms that can, depending on dose of agonist and purine receptor under study, involve the tachykinin NK1 receptor and mast cell amines.
PMCID: PMC1572934  PMID: 11522602
Sensory nerves; capsaicin; adenosine; NECA; CPA; IB-MECA; mast cell
9.  Evidence that PAR-1 and PAR-2 mediate prostanoid-dependent contraction in isolated guinea-pig gallbladder 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2000;131(4):689-694.
We have investigated the ability of protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR-1), PAR-2, PAR-3 and PAR-4 agonists to induce contractile responses in isolated guinea-pig gallbladder. Thrombin, trypsin, mouse PAR-1 activating (SFLLRN-NH2) peptide, and mouse PAR-2 activating (SLIGRL-NH2) and human PAR-2 activating (SLIGKV-NH2) peptides produced a concentration-dependent contractile response.Mouse PAR-4 activating (GYPGKF-NH2) peptide, the mouse PAR-1 reverse (NRLLFS-NH2) peptide, the mouse PAR-2 reverse (LRGILS-NH2) and human PAR-2 reverse (VKGILS-NH2) peptides caused negligible contractile responses at the highest concentrations tested.An additive effect was observed following the contractile response induced by either trypsin or thrombin, with the addition of a different PAR agonist (SFLLRN-NH2 and SLIGRL-NH2, respectively). Desensitization to PAR-2 activating peptide attenuated the response to trypsin but failed to attenuate the response to PAR-1 agonists, and conversely desensitization to PAR-1 attenuated the response to thrombin but failed to alter contractile responses to PAR-2 agonists.The contractile responses produced by thrombin, trypsin, SFLLRN-NH2 and SLIGRL-NH2 were markedly reduced in the presence of the cyclo-oxygenase inhibitor, indomethacin, whilst the small contractile response produced by NRLLFS-NH2 and LRGILS-NH2 were insensitive to indomethacin.The contractile responses to thrombin, trypsin, SFLLRN-NH2 and SLIGRL-NH2 were unaffected by the presence of: the non-selective muscarinic antagonist, atropine; the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, L-NAME; the sodium channel blocker, tetrodotoxin; the combination of selective tachykinin NK1 and NK2 receptor antagonists, (S)-1-[2-[3-(3,4-dichlorphenyl)-1 (3-isopropoxyphenylacetyl) piperidin-3-yl] ethyl]-4-phenyl-1 azaniabicyclo [2.2.2] octane chloride (SR140333) and (S)-N-methyl-N-[4-acetylamino-4-phenylpiperidino-2-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-butyl] benzamide (SR48968), respectively.The results indicate that PAR-1 and PAR-2 activation causes contractile responses in the guinea-pig gallbladder, an effect that is mediated principally by prostanoid release, and is independent of neural mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC1572377  PMID: 11030717
Gallbladder; guinea-pig; protease-activating receptor; prostanoids; thrombin; trypsin
10.  In vitro and in vivo characterization of NK3 receptors in the rabbit eye by use of selective non-peptide NK3 receptor antagonists 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1997;122(3):469-476.
Inhibition of NK3 receptor agonist-induced contraction in the rabbit isolated iris sphincter muscle was used to assess the in vitro functional activity of three 2-phenyl-4-quinolinecarboxamides, members of a novel class of potent and selective non-peptide NK3 receptor antagonists. In addition, an in vivo correlate of this in vitro response, namely NK3 receptor agonist-induced miosis in conscious rabbits, was characterized with some of these antagonists.In vitro senktide (succinyl-[Asp9,MePhe8]-substance P (6-11) and [MePhe7]-neurokinin B ([MePhe7]-NKB) were potent contractile agents in the rabbit iris sphincter muscle but exhibited quite different profiles. Senktide produced monophasic log concentration-effect curves with a mean pD2=9.03±0.06 and mean nH=1.2±0.02 (n=14). In contrast, [MePhe7]-NKB produced shallow log concentration-effect curves which often appeared biphasic (nH=0.54±0.04, n=8), preventing the accurate determination of pD2 values.The contractile responses to the NK3 receptor agonist senktide were antagonized in a surmountable and concentration-dependent manner by SB 223412 ((−)-(S)-N-(α-ethylbenzyl)-3-hydroxy-2-phenylquinoline-4-carboxamide; 3–30 nM, pA2=8.4, slope=1.8±0.3, n=4), SB 222200 ((−)-(S)-N-(α-ethylbenzyl)-3-methyl-2-phenylquinoline-4-carboxamide; 30–300 nM, pA2=7.9, slope=1.4±0.06, n=4) and SB 218795 ((−)-(R)-N-(α-methoxycarbonylbenzyl)-2-phenylquinoline-4-carboxamide; 0.3 and 3 μM apparent pKB=7.4±0.06, n=6).Contractile responses to the NK3 receptor agonist [MePhe7]-NKB in the rabbit iris sphincter muscle were unaffected by SB 218795 (0.3 and 3 μM, n=8). In contrast, SB 223412 (30 and 300 μM, n=4) and SB 222200 (0.3 and 3 μM, n=4) inhibited responses to low concentrations (⩽1 nM), to a greater extent than higher concentrations (>1 nM) of [MePhe7]-NKB. Furthermore, log concentration-effect curves to [MePhe7]-NKB became steeper and monophasic in the presence of each antagonist.SB 218795 (3 μM, n=4) had no effect on contractions induced by transmural nerve stimulation (2 Hz) or substance P, exemplifying the selectivity of this class of antagonist for functional NK3 receptors over NK1 receptors in the rabbit.In vivo, senktide (1, 10 and 25 μg i.v., i.e. 1.2, 11.9 and 29.7 nmol, respectively) induced concentration-dependent bilateral miosis in conscious rabbits (maximum pupillary constriction=4.25±0.25 mm; basal pupillary diameter 7.75±0.48 mm; n=4). The onset of miosis was within 2–5 min of application of senktide and responses lasted up to 30 min. Responses to two i.v. administrations of 25 μg senktide given 30 min apart revealed no evidence of tachyphylaxis. Topical administration of atropine (1%) to the eye enhanced pupillary responses to 25 μg senktide. This was probably due to the mydriatic effect of atropine since it significantly increased baseline pupillary diameter from 7.0±0.4 mm to 9.0±0.7 mm (n=4), thereby increasing the maximum capacity for miosis. Senktide-induced miosis was inhibited by SB 222200 (1 and 2 mg kg−1, i.v., i.e. 2.63 and 5.26 μmol kg−1; maximum inhibition 100%; n=3–4), SB 223412 (0.5 and 1 mg kg−1, i.v., i.e. 1.31 and 2.61 μmol kg−1; maximum inhibition 100%; n=3), SB 218795 (0.5 and 1 mg kg−1, i.v., i.e. 1.26 and 2.52 μmol kg−1; maximum inhibition 78%; n=3), and the structurally distinct NK3 receptor antagonist SR 142801 ((S)-(N)-(1-(3-(1-benzoyl-3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)piperidin-3-yl)propyl)-4-phenylepipiperidin-4-yl)-N-methylacetamide; 1.5 mg kg−1, i.v., i.e. 2.47 μmol kg−1, maximum inhibition 92%; n=3).Topical administration of senktide (25 μg; 29.7 nmol) to the eye induced unilateral miosis in the treated eye only. At this dose there was no significant difference (P<0.05) between pupillary constriction obtained by topical or i.v. senktide, and topically administered atropine had no significant effect on responses to topical senktide (n=4).[MePhe7]-NKB (125, 250 and 500 μg, i.v., i.e. 98.31, 196.62 and 393.24 nmol, respectively) also induced bilateral miosis in conscious rabbits (maximum pupillary constriction=4.13±0.30 mm; n=4), but in contrast to in vitro studies this agonist was approximately 100 fold less potent than senktide. [MePhe7]-NKB-induced miosis was inhibited by SB 222200 (5 mg kg−1, i.v., i.e. 13.14 μmol kg−1; maximum inhibition 69%; n=3).In summary, SB 223412, SB 222200 and SB 218795 are potent and selective antagonists of NK3 receptor-mediated contraction in the rabbit isolated iris sphincter muscle. In addition, NK3 receptor agonist-induced miosis in conscious rabbits is a good in vivo correlate of the in vitro rabbit iris sphincter muscle preparation and appears to be a useful model for characterizing the pharmacodynamic profile and efficacy of structurally distinct NK3 receptor antagonists, such as SB 222200, SB 223412, SB 218795 and SR 142801.
PMCID: PMC1564965  PMID: 9351503
NK3 receptors; rabbit iris sphincter muscle; pupillary constriction; senktide; SR 142801; SB 223412; SB 222200; SB 218795; NK3 receptor antagonists
11.  Expression of functional NK1 receptors in human alveolar macrophages: superoxide anion production, cytokine release and involvement of NF-κB pathway 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2005;145(3):385-396.
Substance P (SP) is deeply involved in lung pathophysiology and plays a key role in the modulation of inflammatory-immune processes. We previously demonstrated that SP activates guinea-pig alveolar macrophages (AMs) and human monocytes, but a careful examination of its effects on human AMs is still scarce.This study was undertaken to establish the role of SP in human AM isolated from healthy smokers and non-smokers, by evaluating the presence of tachykinin NK1 receptors (NK-1R) and SP's ability to induce superoxide anion (O2−) production and cytokine release, as well as activation of the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) pathway.By Western blot analysis and immunofluorescence, we demonstrate that authentic NK-1R are present on human AMs, a three-fold enhanced expression being observed in healthy smokers. These NK-1R are functional, as SP and NK1 agonists dose-dependently induce O2− production and cytokine release. In AMs from healthy smokers, SP evokes an enhanced respiratory burst and a significantly increased release of tumor necrosis factor-α as compared to healthy non-smokers, but has inconsistent effects on IL-10 release. The NK1 selective antagonist CP 96,345 ((2S,3S)-cis-2-diphenylmethyl-N[(2-methoxyphenyl)-methyl]-1-azabicyclo-octan-3-amine)) competitively antagonized SP-induced effects.SP activates the transcription factor NF-κB, a three-fold increased nuclear translocation being observed in AMs from healthy smokers. This effect is receptor-mediated, as it is reproduced by the NK1 selective agonist [Sar9Met(O2)11]SP and reverted by CP 96,345.These results clearly indicate that human AMs possess functional NK-1R on their surface, which are upregulated in healthy smokers, providing new insights on the mechanisms involved in tobacco smoke toxicity.
PMCID: PMC1576149  PMID: 15778738
Substance P; human alveolar macrophages; NK1 receptor; NF-κB activation; respiratory burst; cytokine release; TNF-α; IL-1β; IL-10
12.  The ventral tegmental area as a putative target for tachykinins in cardiovascular regulation 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2005;145(6):712-727.
Tachykinin receptor agonists and antagonists were microinjected into the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to study the relative participation of the three tachykinin receptors in cardiovascular regulation in freely behaving rat.Selective agonists (1–100 pmol) for NK1 ([Sar9, Met (O2)11]SP), NK2 ([β-Ala8]NKA (4–10)) and NK3 (senktide) receptors evoked increases in blood pressure, heart rate (HR) along with behavioural manifestations (face washing, sniffing, head scratching, rearing, wet dog shake). At 1 pmol, NK1 and NK3 agonists did not affect behaviour and blood pressure but only HR.Tachykinin agonists-induced cardiovascular responses were selectively and reversibly blocked by the prior injection of antagonists for NK1 receptors (LY 303870 ((R)-1-[N-(2-methoxybenzyl)acetylamino]-3-(1H-indol-3-yl)-2-[N-(2-(4-(piperidin-1-yl)piperidin-1-yl)acetyl)amino]propane), 5 nmol), NK2 receptors (SR 48968 ([(S)-N-methyl-N-[4-acetylamino-4-phenylpiperidino-2-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)butyl]benzamide]), 250 pmol) and NK3 receptors (SB 235375 ((−)-(S)-N-(α-ethylbenzyl)-3-(carboxymethoxy)-2-phenylquinoline-4-carboxamide), 25 nmol). With the exception of the NK2 agonist, most behavioural effects were also blocked by antagonists.Tachykinin agonists-induced cardiovascular responses were inhibited by intravenous (i.v.) treatments with antagonists for D1 dopamine receptor (SCH23390, 0.2 mg kg−1) and β1-adrenoceptor (atenolol, 5 mg kg−1) but not for D2 dopamine receptor (raclopride, 0.16 mg kg−1). Behavioural responses were blocked by SCH23390 only.The present study provides the first pharmacological evidence that the three tachykinin receptors in the rat VTA can affect the autonomic control of blood pressure and HR by increasing midbrain dopaminergic transmission. This mechanism may be involved in the coordination of behavioural and cardiovascular responses to stress and noxious stimulation.
PMCID: PMC1576198  PMID: 15895109
Tachykinins; tachykinin NK1; NK2 and NK3 receptors; ventral tegmental area; cardiovascular regulation; behaviours; dopamine
13.  Study of SR 142801, a new potent non-peptide NK3 receptor antagonist on cardiovascular responses in conscious guinea-pig. 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1996;118(5):1095-1102.
1. The cardiovascular responses to intravenous (i.v.) injection of natural tachykinins, substance P (SP), neurokinin A (NKA), neurokinin B (NKB) and selective tachykinin (NK) receptor agonists, [Sar9, Met(O2)11]SP, [beta Ala8]NKA(4-10), [MePhe7]NKB and senktide were assessed in conscious, freely moving, guinea-pigs. 2. SP and [Sar9, Met(O2)11]SP (1-1000 pmol kg-1) induced dose-dependent decreases in mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) accompanied by increases in heart rate (HR). NKA evoked only weak hypotensive effects at high doses (3000 pmol kg-1) whereas [beta Ala8]NKA(4-10) (1-3000 pmol kg-1) had no effects. By contrast, NKB [MePhe7]NKB (1-10,000 pmol kg-1) and senktide (1-1000 pmol kg-1), produced dose-related hypertensive effects with the following rank order of potency: senktide > [MePhe7]NKB > NKB. Bradycardia occurred simultaneously with the increases in arterial pressure. 3. The pressor response to intravenous injection of senktide (300 pmol kg-1) was partially reduced by pretreatment with prazosin (0.71 mumol kg-1), or clonidine (0.38 mumol kg-1) and was completely inhibited by the combination of the two compounds. Atropine (1.5 mumol kg-1) suppressed the decrease in HR induced by senktide without altering the blood pressure response. These findings suggest that the blood pressure response to senktide is an indirect effect mediated by noradrenaline released from sympathetic nerve endings, whereas the bradycardia is of vagal reflex origin. 4. SR 142801, ((S)-(N)-(1-(3-(1-benzoyl-3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl) piperidin-3-yl) propyl)-4-phenyl-piperidin-4-yl)-N-methylacetamide), a potent and specific non-peptide NK3 receptor antagonist dose-dependently (0.46-4.6 mumol kg-1, i.v.; 4.6-46 mumol kg-1, p.o.) inhibited the cardiovascular effects of senktide and displayed a long-lasting inhibitory effect after oral administration. By contrast, SR 142806 (4.6 mumol kg-1, i.v.), the (R)-enantiomer of SR 142801 had no effect on the responses to senktide. SR 142801 at a high dose (15 mumol kg-1, i.v.) was inactive toward the [Sar9, Met(O2)11]SP-induced hypotension. 5. SR 142801 did not modify MAP in conscious guinea-pigs both after i.v. (4.6 and 15 mumol kg-1) and oral (46 and 150 mumol kg-1) administration, showing a lack of agonistic properties. However, a slight reduction in HR was observed only after i.v. injection. 6. In conclusion, these results show evident differences in the functional role of tachykinin receptors in the peripheral control of the cardiovascular system. Furthermore, a clear pressor effect of senktide, which was selectively blocked by SR 142801, was observed in conscious guinea-pigs. Hence, this antagonist appears suitable for investigating the functional role of NK3 receptors.
PMCID: PMC1909579  PMID: 8818331
14.  In vitro characterization of tachykinin NK2-receptors modulating motor responses of human colonic muscle strips 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1998;124(6):1321-1327.
Human in vitro preparations of transverse or distal colonic circular smooth muscle were potently and dose-dependently contracted by neurokinin A (EC50, 4.9 nM), the tachykinin NK2-receptor selective agonist [β-Ala8]neurokinin A (4–10) ([β-Ala8]NKA (4–10)) (EC50, 5.0 nM), neurokinin B (EC50, 5.3 nM) and substance P (EC50, 160 nM), but not by the tachykinin NK1-receptor selective agonist [Sar9Met(O2)11] substance P, or the NK3-receptor selective agonists, senktide and [MePhe7] neurokinin B. No regional differences between transverse and distal colon were observed in response to [β-Ala8]NKA (4–10).Atropine (1 μM) and tetrodotoxin (1 μM) did not significantly inhibit responses to [β-Ala8]NKA (4–10), neurokinin A, substance P or neurokinin B.The newly developed non-peptide antagonists for tachykinin NK2-receptors SR 48968, SR 144190 and its N-demethyl (SR 144743) and N,N-demethyl (SR 144782) metabolites, were used to challenge agonist responses, as appropriate. SR 144190 and the metabolites all potently and competitively antagonized the response to [β-Ala8]NKA (4–10), with similar potency (Schild plot pA2 values 9.4, 9.4 and 9.3, slope=1). SR 48968 antagonism was not competitive: the Schild plot slope was biphasic with a high (X intercept∼9.3) and a low (X intercept 8.4, slope 1.6) affinity site. Co-incubation of SR 48968 (10, 100 nM) and SR 144782 (10 nM) produced additive effects; in this experimental condition, SR 48968 apparent affinity (pKB) was 8.2. In addition, SR 144782 (0.1 μM) antagonized responses to neurokinin A, substance P and neurokinin B, with pKB consistent with its affinity for tachykinin NK2-receptors. The potent and selective NK1 and NK3-receptor antagonists, SR 140333 and SR 142801 (both 0.1 μM), failed to inhibit contractions induced by SP or NKB.In conclusion, the in vitro mechanical responses of circular smooth muscle preparations from human colon are strongly consistent with the presence of non-neuronal tachykinin NK2-receptors, but not tachykinin NK1- or NK3-receptors. Our findings with SR 48968 suggest the existence of two tachykinin NK2-receptor subtypes, that it seems to distinguish, unlike SR 144190 and its metabolites. However, the precise nature of SR 48968 allotopic antagonism remains to be elucidated, since allosteric effects at the tachykinin NK2-receptor might well account for the complexity of the observed interaction.
PMCID: PMC1565515  PMID: 9720807
Tachykinins; NK2-receptors; human colon; SR 48968; SR 144190; SR 144782; SR 144743; [β-Ala8]NKA (4–10)
15.  Adenosine A2A receptor antagonists are potential antidepressants: evidence based on pharmacology and A2A receptor knockout mice 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2001;134(1):68-77.
Adenosine, an ubiquitous neuromodulator, and its analogues have been shown to produce ‘depressant' effects in animal models believed to be relevant to depressive disorders, while adenosine receptor antagonists have been found to reverse adenosine-mediated ‘depressant' effect.We have designed studies to assess whether adenosine A2A receptor antagonists, or genetic inactivation of the receptor would be effective in established screening procedures, such as tail suspension and forced swim tests, which are predictive of clinical antidepressant activity.Adenosine A2A receptor knockout mice were found to be less sensitive to ‘depressant' challenges than their wildtype littermates. Consistently, the adenosine A2A receptor blockers SCH 58261 (1 – 10 mg kg−1, i.p.) and KW 6002 (0.1 – 10 mg kg−1, p.o.) reduced the total immobility time in the tail suspension test.The efficacy of adenosine A2A receptor antagonists in reducing immobility time in the tail suspension test was confirmed and extended in two groups of mice. Specifically, SCH 58261 (1 – 10 mg kg−1) and ZM 241385 (15 – 60 mg kg−1) were effective in mice previously screened for having high immobility time, while SCH 58261 at 10 mg kg−1 reduced immobility of mice that were selectively bred for their spontaneous ‘helplessness' in this assay.Additional experiments were carried out using the forced swim test. SCH 58261 at 10 mg kg−1 reduced the immobility time by 61%, while KW 6002 decreased the total immobility time at the doses of 1 and 10 mg kg−1 by 75 and 79%, respectively.Administration of the dopamine D2 receptor antagonist haloperidol (50 – 200 μg kg−1 i.p.) prevented the antidepressant-like effects elicited by SCH 58261 (10 mg kg−1 i.p.) in forced swim test whereas it left unaltered its stimulant motor effects.In conclusion, these data support the hypothesis that A2A receptor antagonists prolong escape-directed behaviour in two screening tests for antidepressants. Altogether the results support the hypothesis that blockade of the adenosine A2A receptor might be an interesting target for the development of effective antidepressant agents.
PMCID: PMC1572930  PMID: 11522598
Adenosine; A2A receptor; A2A receptor knockout mice; antidepressant; forced swim test; tail suspension test; motor activity; SCH 58261; KW 6002; ZM 241385
16.  Postjunctional inhibitory effect of the NK2 receptor antagonist, SR 48968, on sensory NANC bronchoconstriction in the guinea-pig. 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1993;109(3):765-773.
1 The effects of a selective NK2 receptor antagonist, SR 48968, on non-adrenergic non-cholinergic (NANC) bronchoconstriction in the guinea-pig were investigated in both in vitro and in vivo studies. 2 In isolated bronchus, the electrical field stimulation (EFS, 1 Hz for 1 min)-induced NANC bronchoconstriction was inhibited by 83% after preincubation with SR 48968 (10(-7) M) for 1 h. The selective NK1 receptor antagonist, CP 96,345 (10(-6) M), together with SR 48968 completely abolished the remaining EFS-evoked NANC bronchial contraction. ST 48968 (10(-7) M) totally blocked the bronchial contraction caused by neurokinin A (NKA), but reduced only slightly the bronchoconstriction caused by high concentrations of substance P (SP) and did not influence the response to acetylcholine (ACh). 3 In the guinea-pig isolated perfused lung, SR 48968 (5 x 10(-7) M) perfusion for 30 min markedly reduced, by 95% and 68% respectively, the increase in lung resistance (RL) and the decrease in dynamic compliance (CDyn) evoked by vagal stimulation (1 Hz for 1 min). Capsaicin (10(-8) M)-evoked bronchoconstriction was also significantly inhibited by SR 48968 (5 x 10(-7) M). However, the same concentration of SR 48968 did not affect the release of neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-like immunoreactivity (LI) evoked by either vagal stimulation or capsaicin in the isolated perfused lung, suggesting no prejunctional action.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
PMCID: PMC2175653  PMID: 8395297
17.  Preclinical Evidence of Rapid-Onset Antidepressant-Like Effect in Radix Polygalae Extract 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88617.
Radix Polygalae (the root of Polygala tenuifolia) is a herb widely used in traditional Asian medicine that is thought to exert a variety of neuropsychiatric effects. Radix Polygalae extract can protect against N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) neurotoxicity and induce brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression, suggesting modulatory roles at glutamatergic synapses and possible antidepressant action. In accordance with this hypothesis, Radix Polygalae extract demonstrated antidepressant-like effects in 8-week-old male C57Bl/6 mice by decreasing behavioral despair in the forced swim and tail suspension tasks and increasing hedonic-like behavior in the female urine sniffing test 30 minutes after a single oral administration of 0.1 mg/kg. Reduced latency to acquire a food pellet in the novely suppressed feeding paradigm, without change in anxiety-like behaviors suggested a rapid-onset nature of the antidepressant-like effect. In addition, it decreased the number of failed escapes in the learned helplessness paradigm after two oral administrations 24 hours and 30 minutes before the first test. Finally, it reversed anhedonia as measured by saccharin preference in mice exposed to the chronic stress model after two administrations of 0.1 mg/kg, in contrast to the repeated administration generally needed for similar effect by monoamergic antidepressants. Immobility reduction in tail suspension task was blocked by the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor antagonist NBQX, a pattern previously demonstrated by ketamine and other ketamine-like rapid-onset antidepressants. Also similarly to ketamine, Radix Polygalae appeared to acutely decrease phosphorylation of GluR1 serine-845 in the hippocampus while leaving the phosphorylation of hippocampal mTOR serine 2448 unchanged. These findings serve as preclinical evidence that Radix Polygalae extract exerts rapid-onset antidepressant effects by modulating glutamatergic synapses in critical brain circuits of depression and may be worthy of further evaluation as a safe substitute to other rapid-onset antidepressants known to have unacceptable side effects.
PMCID: PMC3919798  PMID: 24520403
18.  Tachykinin NK1 receptor subtypes in the rat urinary bladder. 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1994;111(3):739-746.
1. Following the recent proposal that the selective agonist septide, ([pGlu6,Pro9]SP(6-11)), acts on a novel tachykinin receptor distinct from the 'classical' NK1 receptor, the aim of the study was to investigate the possible heterogeneity of tachykinin NK1 receptors in the rat urinary bladder. 2. The synthetic tachykinin receptor agonists, septide (pD2 7.87) and [Sar9]substance P (SP) sulphone (pD2 7.64) produced concentration-dependent contractions of the rat isolated urinary bladder. 3. The NK1 receptor antagonists GR82,334, (+/-)-CP96,345, and RP67,580 competitively antagonized (slopes of Schild plot not significantly different from unity) the response to septide with the rank order of potency (pKB values in parentheses): RP 67,580 (7.57) > GR 82,334 (7.01) > (+/-)-CP 96,345 (6.80). The same antagonists were significantly less potent when tested against [Sar9]SP sulphone, while maintaining the same rank order of potency: RP 67,580 (7.00) > GR 82,334 (5.93) > (+/-)-CP 96,345 (< 6). The antagonists did not affect the concentration-response curve to bombesin. 4. To exclude the involvement of the NK2 receptor, a second series of experiments was performed in the presence of the potent nonpeptide NK2 receptor antagonist, SR 48,968. SR 48,968 (1 microM) produced a rightward shift of the concentration-response curve to the NK2 receptor selective agonist, [beta Ala8]neurokinin A (NKA) (4-10). SR 48,968 did not significantly modify the response to SP, NKA, neurokinin B (NKB), neuropeptide K (NPK), neuropeptide gamma (NP gamma), SP(4-11), SP(6-11), septide or [Sar9]SP sulphone.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
PMCID: PMC1910071  PMID: 7517327
19.  Antidepressant Properties of Aqueous Macerate from Gladiolus Dalenii Corms 
Gladiolus dalenii Van Geel (Iridaceae) has been used for the treatment of depression and psychotic disorders in African traditional medicine. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of the aqueous extract from the corm of Gladiolus dalenii and its possible mechanisms of action.
Materials and Methods
We assessed the antidepressant properties of G. dalenii corm aqueous extract in mice, using the open field, forced swimming, and tail suspension tests. Spontaneous locomotor activity of mice given various doses of G. dalenii extract (per os) was determined in the open field, whereas immobility was evaluated in the other two tests.
Extract maximal effect was observed at 15 mg/kg, as mice displayed a marked reduction in immobility time in both the forced swimming test (80%) and the tail suspension test (66%). In further studies aimed at investigating the mechanism of action of G. dalenii extract, the latter significantly antagonized the effect of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA, 75 mg/kg) at both the doses 15 mg/kg (p<0.001) and 150 mg/kg (p=0.004). A significant reduction in immobility time was also observed following treatment with combinations of a sub-effective dose of extract (7.5 mg/kg) with either the NMDA receptor antagonist D-(−)-2-amino-7-phosphonoheptanoic acid (D-AP7, 50 mg/kg, P< 0.001), the serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine (5 and 10 mg/kg, P< 0.001and P< 0.001 respectively), and the multi-target antidepressant imipramine (5 and 10 mg/kg, P< 0.001 and P< 0.001 respectively). Moreover, neither G. dalenii extract alone nor its combinations with NMDA ligands imipramine and fluoxetine enhanced mouse spontaneous locomotor activity.
Altogether, these results suggest that G. dalenii has antidepressant properties, probably mediated through interactions with NMDA, serotonin and/ or noradrenergic systems, and may justify its use in traditional medicine.
PMCID: PMC3957241  PMID: 24653553
Gladiolus dalenii; depression; forced swimming test; tail suspension test; open field test; therapy
20.  NMDA receptor subunits and associated signaling molecules mediating antidepressant-related effects of NMDA-GluN2B antagonism 
Behavioural brain research  2015;287:89-95.
Drugs targeting the glutamate N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) may be efficacious for treating mood disorders, as exemplified by the rapid antidepressant effects produced by single administration of the NMDAR antagonist ketamine. Though the precise mechanisms underlying the antidepressant-related effects of NMDAR antagonism remain unclear, recent studies implicate specific NMDAR subunits, including GluN2A and GluN2B, as well as the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid receptor (AMPAR) subunit glutamate receptor interacting molecule, PSD-95. Here, integrating mutant and pharmacological in mice, we investigated the contribution of these subunits and molecules to antidepressant-related behaviors and the antidepressant-related effects of the GluN2B blocker, Ro 25-6981. We found that global deletion of GluA1 or PSD-95 reduced forced swim test (FST) immobility, mimicking the antidepressant-related effect produced by systemically administered Ro 25-6981 in C57BL/6J mice. Moreover, the FST antidepressant-like effects of systemic Ro 25-6981 were intact in mutants with global GluA1 deletion or GluN1 deletion in forebrain interneurons, but were absent in mutants constitutively lacking GluN2A or PSD-95. Next, we found that microinfusing Ro 25-6981 into the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), but not basolateral amygdala, of C57BL/6J mice was sufficient to produce an antidepressant-like effect. Together, these findings extend and refine current understanding of the mechanisms mediating antidepressant-like effects produced by NMDAR-GluN2B antagonists, and may inform the development of a novel class of medications for treating depression that target the GluN2B subtype of NMDAR.
PMCID: PMC4425283  PMID: 25800971
NMDA; glutamate; PSD-95; prefrontal cortex; GluN2B; GluA1; depression
21.  Antidepressant-like action of the hydromethanolic flower extract of Tagetes erecta L. in mice and its possible mechanism of action 
Indian Journal of Pharmacology  2013;45(4):386-390.
Tagetes erecta, the marigold, has commercial and ethnomedicinal use; however, reports concerning its efficacy for the treatment of depression are lacking. This study was carried out to elucidate the antidepressant effect of hydromethanolic flower extract of T. erecta.
Materials and Methods:
Hydromethanolic extract of flowers of Tagetes erecta was subjected to preliminary phytochemical screening. The extract (12.5, 25, and 50 mg/kg, i.p.) was evaluated for antidepressant effect using forced swim test in mice. The mechanism of antidepressant action was further examined using different drugs and imipramine was used as standard drug.
T. erecta significantly inhibited the immobility period in forced swim test in mice P<0.05). T. erecta (25 mg/kg, i.p.) enhanced the anti-immobility effect of antidepressant drugs like imipramine, fluoxetine, and p-chlorophenylalanine, an inhibitor of serotonin synthesis significantly attenuated its antidepressant effect. The antidepressant effect of T. erecta in the forced swim test was prevented by pretreatment with L-arginine and sildenafil, whereas pretreatment of mice with nitric oxide synthase inhibitors potentiated the action. Pentazocine, a high-affinity sigma receptor agonist, produced synergism with effective dose of T. erecta while progesterone, a sigma receptor antagonist, reversed the antidepressant effect of T. erecta. However, the locomotor activity was not affected at tested doses.
Serotonergic, nitrergic pathway, and sigma receptors are possibly involved in mediating antidepressant action of T. erecta in mouse forced swim test.
PMCID: PMC3757609  PMID: 24014916
Antidepressant; forced swim test; nitric oxide pathway; serotonergic pathway; sigma receptors; Tagetes erecta
22.  Antidepressant-like activity of the neuropeptide Y Y5 receptor antagonist Lu AA33810: behavioral, molecular, and immunohistochemical evidence 
Psychopharmacology  2016;234(4):631-645.
It has recently been found that chronic treatment with the highly selective, brain-penetrating Y5 receptor antagonist, Lu AA33810 [N-[[trans-4-[(4,5-dihydro [1] benzothiepino[5,4-d] thiazol-2-yl) amino] cyclohexyl]methyl]-methanesulfonamide], produces antidepressant-like effects in the rat chronic mild stress model.
In the present study, we investigated the possible antidepressant-like activity of Lu AA33810 in rats subjected to glial ablation in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) by the gliotoxin L-AAA, which is an astroglial degeneration model of depression.
We observed that Lu AA33810 administered intraperitoneally at a single dose of 10 mg/kg both reversed depressive-like behavioral changes in the forced swim test (FST) and prevented degeneration of astrocytes in the mPFC. The mechanism of antidepressant and glioprotective effects of Lu AA33810 has not been studied, so far. We demonstrated the contribution of the noradrenergic rather than the serotonergic pathway to the antidepressant-like action of Lu AA33810 in the FST. Moreover, we found that antidepressant-like effect of Lu AA33810 was connected with the influence on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein expression. We also demonstrated the antidepressant-like effect of Lu AA33810 in the FST in rats which did not receive the gliotoxin. We found that intracerebroventricular injection of the selective MAPK/ERK inhibitor U0126 (5 μg/2 μl) and the selective PI3K inhibitor LY294002 (10 nmol/2 μl) significantly inhibited the anti-immobility effect of Lu AA33810 in the FST in rats, suggesting that MAPK/ERK and PI3K signaling pathways could be involved in the antidepressant-like effect of Lu AA33810.
Our results indicate that Lu AA33810 exerts an antidepressant-like effect and suggest the Y5 receptors as a promising target for antidepressant therapy.
PMCID: PMC5263200  PMID: 27975125
Astrocyte; Antidepressant; BDNF; Lu AA33810; GFAP; Neuropeptide Y; Prefrontal cortex; Gliotoxin; Forced swim test
23.  Differential effects of TRPV1 receptor ligands against nicotine-induced depression-like behaviors 
BMC Pharmacology  2011;11:6.
The contributions of brain cannabinoid (CB) receptors, typically CB1 (CB type 1) receptors, to the behavioral effects of nicotine (NC) have been reported to involve brain transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) receptors, and the activation of candidate endogenous TRPV1 ligands is expected to be therapeutically effective. In the present study, the effects of TRPV1 ligands with or without affinity for CB1 receptors were examined on NC-induced depression-like behavioral alterations in a mouse model in order to elucidate the "antidepressant-like" contributions of TRPV1 receptors against the NC-induced "depression" observed in various types of tobacco abuse.
Repeated subcutaneous NC treatments (NC group: 0.3 mg/kg, 4 days), like repeated immobilization stress (IM) (IM group: 10 min, 4 days), caused depression-like behavioral alterations in both the forced swimming (reduced swimming behaviors) and the tail suspension (increased immobility times) tests, at the 2 h time point after the last treatment. In both NC and IM groups, the TRPV1 agonists capsaicin (CP) and olvanil (OL) administered intraperitoneally provided significant antidepressant-like attenuation against these behavioral alterations, whereas the TRPV1 antagonist capsazepine (CZ) did not attenuate any depression-like behaviors. Furthermore, the endogenous TRPV1-agonistic CB1 agonists anandamide (AEA) and N-arachidonyldopamine (NADA) did not have any antidepressant-like effects. Nevertheless, a synthetic "hybrid" agonist of CB1 and TRPV1 receptors, arvanil (AR), caused significant antidepressant-like effects. The antidepressant-like effects of CP and OL were antagonized by the TRPV1 antagonist CZ. However, the antidepressant-like effects of AR were not antagonized by either CZ or the CB1 antagonist AM 251 (AM).
The antidepressant-like effects of TRPV1 agonists shown in the present study suggest a characteristic involvement of TRPV1 receptors in NC-induced depression-like behaviors, similar to those caused by IM. The strong antidepressant-like effects of the potent TRPV1 plus CB1 agonist AR, which has been reported to cause part of its TRPV1-mimetic and cannabimimetic effects presumably via non-TRPV1 or non-CB1 mechanisms support a contribution from other sites of action which may play a therapeutically important role in the treatment of NC abuse.
PMCID: PMC3155896  PMID: 21767384
24.  Association of FKBP51 with Priming of Autophagy Pathways and Mediation of Antidepressant Treatment Response: Evidence in Cells, Mice, and Humans 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(11):e1001755.
Theo Rein and colleagues examine the role of FKBP51 in the actions of antidepressants, with a particular focus on pathways of autophagy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
FK506 binding protein 51 (FKBP51) is an Hsp90 co-chaperone and regulator of the glucocorticoid receptor, and consequently of stress physiology. Clinical studies suggest a genetic link between FKBP51 and antidepressant response in mood disorders; however, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. The objective of this study was to elucidate the role of FKBP51 in the actions of antidepressants, with a particular focus on pathways of autophagy.
Methods and Findings
Established cell lines, primary neural cells, human blood cells of healthy individuals and patients with depression, and mice were treated with antidepressants. Mice were tested for several neuroendocrine and behavioral parameters. Protein interactions and autophagic pathway activity were mainly evaluated by co-immunoprecipitation and Western blots. We first show that the effects of acute antidepressant treatment on behavior are abolished in FKBP51 knockout (51KO) mice. Autophagic markers, such as the autophagy initiator Beclin1, were increased following acute antidepressant treatment in brains from wild-type, but not 51KO, animals. FKBP51 binds to Beclin1, changes decisive protein interactions and phosphorylation of Beclin1, and triggers autophagic pathways. Antidepressants and FKBP51 exhibited synergistic effects on these pathways. Using chronic social defeat as a depression-relevant stress model in combination with chronic paroxetine (PAR) treatment revealed that the stress response, as well as the effects of antidepressants on behavior and autophagic markers, depends on FKBP51. In human blood cells of healthy individuals, FKBP51 levels correlated with the potential of antidepressants to induce autophagic pathways.
Importantly, the clinical antidepressant response of patients with depression (n = 51) could be predicted by the antidepressant response of autophagic markers in patient-derived peripheral blood lymphocytes cultivated and treated ex vivo (Beclin1/amitriptyline: r = 0.572, p = 0.003; Beclin1/PAR: r = 0.569, p = 0.004; Beclin1/fluoxetine: r = 0.454, p = 0.026; pAkt/amitriptyline: r = −0.416, p = 0.006; pAkt/PAR: r = −0.355, p = 0.021; LC3B-II/PAR: r = 0.453, p = 0.02), as well as by the lymphocytic expression levels of FKBP51 (r = 0.631, p<0.0001), pAkt (r = −0.515, p = 0.003), and Beclin1 (r = 0.521, p = 0.002) at admission. Limitations of the study include the use of male mice only and the relatively low number of patients for protein analyses.
To our knowledge, these findings provide the first evidence for the molecular mechanism of FKBP51 in priming autophagic pathways; this process is linked to the potency of at least some antidepressants. These newly discovered functions of FKBP51 also provide novel predictive markers for treatment outcome, consistent with physiological and potential clinical relevance.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Everyone feels miserable sometimes, but about one in six people will have an episode of clinical depression during their lifetime. For people who are clinically depressed, overwhelming feelings of sadness, anxiety, and hopelessness can last for months or years. Affected individuals lose interest in activities they used to enjoy, they sometimes have physical symptoms such as disturbed sleep, and they may contemplate suicide. Clinicians diagnose depression and determine its severity using questionnaires (“depression rating scales”) that explore the patient's feelings and symptoms. Mild depression is often treated with talking therapies (psychotherapy) such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps people change negative ways of thinking. For more severe depression, patients are also usually prescribed an antidepressant, most commonly a “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor” such as paroxetine or a tricyclic antidepressant such as amitriptyline.
Why Was This Study Done?
Unfortunately, antidepressants don't work for more than half of patients. Moreover, because it is unclear how antidepressants work, it is not possible to predict which patients will respond to which antidepressants. Thus, matching patient to drug can be a lengthy, sometimes unsuccessful, process. Here, the researchers use several approaches to test the hypothesis that a protein called FK506 binding protein 51 (FKBP51) is involved in the actions of antidepressants and to investigate whether the ability of both FKBP51 and antidepressants to regulate a process called autophagy underlies the impact of FKBP51 on antidepressant responses. FKBP51 is a regulator of stress physiology, which is connected to the development and treatment of depression; genetic studies have suggested a link between FKBP51 expression and the antidepressant response rate. Some antidepressants are known to alter the initial steps in the autophagy pathway, a multistep process that maintains the integrity of cells through regulated degradation and recycling of cellular components; however, the potential synergistic role of FKBP51 and antidepressants in regulating pathways of autophagy are unknown.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers first treated wild-type mice and FKBP51 knockout mice (genetically altered animals that make no FKBP51) with an acute dose of antidepressant and compared their behavior in a forced swim test, an assay that measures the action of antidepressants in mice by determining how long the mice struggle or float inertly when placed in deep water. As expected, acute antidepressant treatment increased the time that wild-type mice spent struggling. However, this effect of antidepressant treatment was greatly attenuated in the FKBP51 knockout mice. Moreover, the levels of several autophagy markers increased in the brains of wild-type mice following antidepressant treatment but not in the brains of FKBP51 knockout mice. Next, using “chronic social defeat stress” to model the “endophenotype” of depression (a combination of physiological, hormonal, and behavioral traits seen in people with depression) in mice, the researchers showed that the stress response and the effect of chronic antidepressants on behavior and on autophagic markers all depend on FKBP51. Using cell-based assays, the researchers showed that antidepressants and FKBP51 had synergistic (interactive) effects on the autophagic pathway and that, in human blood cells, FKBP51 levels correlated with the potential of antidepressants to induce autophagic pathways. Finally, the researchers report that the clinical response to antidepressant treatment in 51 patients with depression was associated with the response of autophagic markers in their peripheral blood lymphocytes to antidepressant treatment in test tubes, and that the expression levels of FKBP51 and autophagy markers in patient lymphocytes at admission were associated with subsequent clinical responses to antidepressants.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the protein FKBP51 is required for the effects of both acute and chronic treatment with some antidepressants on behavior and on autophagic pathways in mice. These findings also reveal an association between antidepressant treatment responses in patients and both the expression levels of FKBP51 and autophagy markers in lymphocytes at admission and the response of autophagic markers to antidepressant treatment in patient lymphocytes. The accuracy of these findings is limited by the small number of clinical samples available for analysis, by the use of only male mice in the animal experiments, and by the inability of animal models of depression to fully replicate the human condition. Nevertheless, these findings identify the early stages of autophagy as potential targets for the development of new antidepressants and identify several potential biomarkers that might, after further clinical validation, help clinicians predict antidepressant efficacy in patients with depression.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information on all aspects of depression (in English and Spanish), including information on antidepressants
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information about depression and about antidepressants; it also provides personal stories about depression
The UK charity Mind provides information on depression, including some personal stories about depression
More personal stories about depression are available from
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about depression
Wikipedia has a page on autophagy (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The patients included in this study were all enrolled in the Munich Antidepressant Response Signature project, which aims to identify gene variants and biomarkers that predict treatment outcomes with antidepressants
PMCID: PMC4227651  PMID: 25386878
25.  Central κ-opioid receptor-mediated antidepressant-like effects of nor-Binaltorphimine: behavioral and BDNF mRNA expression studies 
European journal of pharmacology  2007;570(1-3):89-96.
κ-opioid receptor antagonists such as nor-binaltorphimine (nor-BNI) have been shown to produce antidepressant-like behavioral effects in animal models of depression. The aim of this study was to investigate further the duration of centrally administered nor-BNI-induced antidepressant-like actions measured by both behavior and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene expression. In addition, antagonist studies were conducted to determine the role of opioid receptor subtypes and the time course of nor-BNI’s pharmacological actions. Antidepressant-like behavioral effects were measured by decreased immobility in the rat forced swim test and BDNF mRNA expression was determined by in situ hybridization. Centrally administered nor-BNI (20 μg, i.c.v.) decreased immobility and increased BDNF mRNA expression in the hippocampus on day 1, not on days 3-14, post-administration. Systemic administration of selective μ-, δ- and κ-opioid receptor antagonists did not block nor-BNI-induced antidepressant-like effects. In contrast, i.c.v. administration of nor-BNI 7 or 14 days earlier significantly blocked subsequent nor-BNI-induced decreased immobility and upregulation of BDNF mRNA expression. Although the duration of nor-BNI’s antidepressant-like effects did not synchronize with that of its κ-opioid receptor antagonist effects, this study is the first to show that centrally administered nor-BNI, like most clinically used antidepressants, can upregulate BDNF mRNA expression in the rat hippocampus. These findings further demonstrate that central κ-opioid receptor mediates antidepressant-like effects of nor-BNI measured by both behavior and BDNF gene expression.
PMCID: PMC2031926  PMID: 17601558
κ-opioid receptors; depression; hippocampus; in situ hybridization; neurotrophins

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