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1.  Effects of the H3 Antagonist, Thioperamide, on Behavioral Alterations Induced by Systemic MK-801 Administration in Rats 
Psychopharmacology  2009;205(4):589-597.
Recent studies have raised the possibility that antagonists of H3 histamine receptors possess cognitive-enhancing and antipsychotic properties. However, little work has assessed these compounds in classic animal models of schizophrenia.
The purpose of this study was to determine if a prototypical H3 antagonist, thioperamide, could alter behavioral deficits caused by the NMDA receptor antagonist, MK-801, in adult male rats. MK-801 was chosen for study since it produces a state of NMDA receptor hypofunction in rats that may be analogous to the one hypothesized to occur in schizophrenia.
The interaction between thioperamide and MK-801 was measured in three behavioral tests: locomotor activity, prepulse inhibition (PPI), and delayed spatial alternation. In each test, rats received a subcutaneous injection of saline or thioperamide (3.0 & 10 mg/kg) followed 20 minutes later by a subcutaneous injection of saline or MK-801 (0.05, 0.10, & 0.30 mg/kg).
Locomotor activity was significantly elevated by MK-801 in a dose-dependent manner. Thioperamide pretreatment alone did not alter locomotor activity, however its impact on MK-801 was dose-dependent. Each thioperamide dose enhanced the effects of two lower doses of MK801 but reduced the effect of a higher MK-801 dose. Clear deficits in PPI and delayed spatial alternation were produced by MK-801 treatment, but neither impairment was significantly modified by thioperamide pretreatment.
H3 receptors modulate responses to NMDA antagonists in behaviorally-specific ways and dependent upon the level of NMDA receptor blockade.
PMCID: PMC2791506  PMID: 19466392
Antipsychotic; cognition; locomotor activity; prepulse inhibition; spatial working memory; NMDA receptor
2.  The role of endogenous neurotensin in psychostimulant-induced disruption of prepulse inhibition and locomotion 
Schizophrenia research  2011;136(1-3):88-95.
The neuropeptide neurotensin (NT) is closely associated with dopaminergic and glutamatergic systems in the rat brain. Central injection of NT into the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) or peripheral administration of NT receptor agonists, reduces many of the behavioral effects of psychostimulants. However, the role of endogenous NT in the behavioral effects of psychostimulants (e.g. DA agonists and NMDA receptor antagonists) remains unclear. Using a NTR antagonist, SR142948A, the current studies were designed to examine the role of endogenous NT in DA receptor agonist- and NMDA receptor antagonist-induced disruption of prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle response (PPI), locomotor hyperactivity and brain-region specific c-fos mRNA expression. Adult male rats received a single i.p. injection of SR142948A or vehicle followed by d-amphetamine, apomorphine or dizocilpine challenge. SR142948A had no effect on baseline PPI, but dose-dependently attenuated D-amphetamine- and dizocilpine-induced PPI disruption and enhanced apomorphine-induced PPI disruption. SR142948A did not significantly affect either baseline locomotor activity or stimulant-induced hyperlocomotion. Systemic SR142948A administration prevented c-fos mRNA induction in mesolimbic terminal fields (prefrontal cortex, lateral septum, NAcc, ventral subiculum) induced by all three psychostimulants implicating the VTA as the site for NT modulation of stimulant-induced PPI disruption. Further characterization of the NT system may be valuable to find clinical useful compounds for schizophrenia and drug addiction.
PMCID: PMC3595536  PMID: 22104138
Prepulse inhibition; Locomotion; d-amphetamine; Apomorphine; Dizocilpine; c-fos; Neurotensin
3.  Pharmacological Blockade of Serotonin 5-HT7 Receptor Reverses Working Memory Deficits in Rats by Normalizing Cortical Glutamate Neurotransmission 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e20210.
The role of 5-HT7 receptor has been demonstrated in various animal models of mood disorders; however its function in cognition remains largely speculative. This study evaluates the effects of SB-269970, a selective 5-HT7 antagonist, in a translational model of working memory deficit and investigates whether it modulates cortical glutamate and/or dopamine neurotransmission in rats. The effect of SB-269970 was evaluated in the delayed non-matching to position task alone or in combination with MK-801, a non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist, and, in separate experiments, with scopolamine, a non-selective muscarinic antagonist. SB-269970 (10 mg/kg) significantly reversed the deficits induced by MK-801 (0.1 mg/kg) but augmented the deficit induced by scopolamine (0.06 mg/kg). The ability of SB-269970 to modulate MK-801-induced glutamate and dopamine extracellular levels was separately evaluated using biosensor technology and microdialysis in the prefrontal cortex of freely moving rats. SB-269970 normalized MK-801 -induced glutamate but not dopamine extracellular levels in the prefrontal cortex. Rat plasma and brain concentrations of MK-801 were not affected by co-administration of SB-269970, arguing for a pharmacodynamic rather than a pharmacokinetic mechanism. These results indicate that 5-HT7 receptor antagonists might reverse cognitive deficits associated with NMDA receptor hypofunction by selectively normalizing glutamatergic neurotransmission.
PMCID: PMC3119073  PMID: 21701689
4.  Direct and indirect interactions of the dopamine D3 receptor with glutamate pathways: implications for the treatment of schizophrenia 
This article, based on original data as well as on previously reported preclinical and clinical data that are reviewed, describes direct and indirect interactions of the D3 receptor with N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDA) signaling and their functional consequences and therapeutic implications for schizophrenia. D3 receptor immunoreactivity at ultrastructural level with electron microscopy was identified at presumably glutamatergic, asymmetric synapses of the medium-sized spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens. This finding supports the existence of a direct interaction of the D3 receptor with glutamate, in line with previously described interactions with NMDA signaling involving Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II at post-synaptic densities (Liu et al. 2009). Indirect interactions of the D3 receptor with glutamate could involve a negative control exerted by the D3 receptor on mesocortical dopamine neurons and the complex regulation of the glutamatergic pyramidal cells by dopamine in the prefrontal cortex. This could be exemplified here by the regulation of pyramidal cell activity in conditions of chronic NMDA receptor blockade with dizocilpine (MK-801). BP897, a D3 receptor-selective partial agonist, reversed the dysregulation of cortical c-fos mRNA expression and pyramidal cell hyperexcitability, as measured by paired-pulse electrophysiology. At the behavioral level, blockade of the D3 receptor, by known D3 receptor antagonists or the novel D3 receptor-selective antagonist F17141, produces antipsychotic-like effects in reversing hyperactivity and social interaction deficits induced by NMDA receptor blockade by MK-801 in mice. The glutamate–D3 receptor interactions described here offer a conceptual framework for developing new D3 receptor-selective drugs, which may appear as an original, efficacious, and safe way to potentially indirectly target glutamate in schizophrenia.
PMCID: PMC3558669  PMID: 23001156
Asymmetric synapse; VGluT1; BP897; Prefrontal cortex; c-fos; Paired-pulse facilitation; F17141; Social interaction deficit
5.  Input-specific Plasticity of NMDA Receptor- Mediated Synaptic Responses in Neonatal Rat Motoneurons 
The European journal of neuroscience  2009;29(11):2125-2136.
Lumbar motoneurons can be activated monosynaptically by two glutamatergic synaptic inputs: segmental dorsal root (DR) and descending ventrolateral funiculus (VLF). To determine if their N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are independent, we used (5R,10S)-(+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo[a,d]cyclohepten-5,10-imine-hydrogen-maleate (MK-801), known to induce a use-dependent irreversible block of NMDA receptors (NMDAR). In the presence of MK-801 (in bath) and non-NMDA antagonists (in bath, to isolate NMDA receptors pharmacologically) we first stimulated DR. After MK-801 blockade of DR synaptic input, the VLF was stimulated. Its response was found to be not significantly different than its control value suggesting that the DR stimulus activated very few if any receptors also activated by VLF stimulation. Similar findings were made if the stimulation order was reversed. Both inputs also elicited a polysynaptic NMDA receptor- mediated response. Evoking the DR polysynaptic response in the presence of MK-801 eliminated the corresponding VLF response; the reverse did not occur. Surprisingly, when MK-801 was washed from the bath, both DR and VLF responses could recover although the recovery of the DR monosynaptic and polysynaptic responses was reliably greater than those associated with VLF. Recovery was prevented if extrasynaptic receptors were activated by bath applied NMDA in the presence of MK-801 consistent with the possibility that recovery was due to movement of extrasynaptic receptors into parts of the membrane accessible to transmitter released by DR and VLF stimulation. These novel findings suggest that segmental glutamatergic inputs to motoneurons are more susceptible to plastic changes than those from CNS white matter inputs at this developmental stage.
PMCID: PMC2931593  PMID: 19490018
MK-801; EPSP; NMDA receptor mobility
6.  Effects of antipsychotic drugs on MK-801-induced attentional and motivational deficits in rats 
Neuropharmacology  2009;56(4):788-797.
Attentional deficits that accompany schizophrenia are not effectively treated by available antipsychotic medications. Disruption of NMDA receptor function is often used to model aspects of this disorder in rodents. We used the 5-choice serial reaction time task (5CSRTT) to characterize attentional deficits caused by acute administration or withdrawal from chronic administration of the NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801, and determine if they are ameliorated by haloperidol or clozapine.
Acute studies involved tests in the presence of MK-801: rats were administered haloperidol (0.008-0.125 mg/kg, SC) or clozapine (0.16-2.5 mg/kg, SC) in combination with MK-801 (0.25 mg/kg, IP) prior to daily test sessions. Chronic studies involved tests in the absence of MK-801: following daily tests, rats were administered MK-801 (0.5 mg/kg, IP) and tested 24 hr later in the absence or presence of haloperidol or clozapine.
Acute MK-801 disrupted performance: it decreased accuracy while increasing omissions, premature responses, and magazine entries. Haloperidol reduced disruptive effects associated with increased activation, whereas it exacerbated other deficits. Clozapine dose-dependently attenuated several of the MK-801-induced performance deficits. Withdrawal from chronic MK-801 progressively increased omissions and response latencies and decreased premature responding, suggesting an amotivational state. Neither haloperidol nor clozapine ameliorated these performance deficits.
Acute administration and withdrawal from chronic MK-801 administration produced distinct behavioral profiles in the 5CSRTT. Acute MK-801 impaired attention and impulse control whereas chronic MK-801 withdrawal caused signs consistent with amotivation. Haloperidol and clozapine were more effective at attenuating deficits caused by acute MK-801 administration.
PMCID: PMC2775532  PMID: 19705572
attention; schizophrenia; 5-choice serial reaction time task; MK-801; clozapine; haloperidol; behavior; rat
7.  Clonidine and guanfacine attenuate phencyclidine-induced dopamine overflow in rat prefrontal cortex: Mediating influence of the alpha-2A adrenoceptor subtype 
Brain research  2008;1246:41-46.
N-methyl-D-aspartic acid/glutamate receptor antagonists induce psychotomimetic effects in humans and animals, and much research has focused on the neurochemical and network-level effects that mediate those behavioral changes. For example, a reduction in NMDA-dependent glutamatergic transmission triggers increased release of the monoamine transmitters, and some of these changes are implicated in the cognitive, behavioral and neuroanatomical effects of phencyclidine (PCP). Alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonists (e.g., clonidine) are effective at preventing many of the behavioral, neurochemical and anatomical effects of NMDA antagonists. Evidence has indicated that a key mechanism of the clonidine-induced reversal of the effects of NMDA antagonists is an attenuation of enhanced dopamine release. We have pursued these findings by investigating the effects of alpha-2 agonists on PCP-evoked dopamine efflux in the prefrontal cortex of freely moving rats. Clonidine (0.003–0.1 mg/kg, i.p.) dose-dependently attenuated the ability of PCP (2.5 mg/kg, i.p.) to increase cortical dopamine output. The effects of clonidine were prevented by the alpha-2A subtype selective antagonist BRL-44408 (1 mg/kg, i.p.). Guanfacine, which is an alpha-2 agonist with a higher affinity for the 2A, compared with 2B or 2C, subtypes, also blocked the ability of PCP to increase dopamine efflux in the prefrontal cortex. These data indicate that alpha-2A agonists are effective at counteracting the hyperdopaminergic state induced by PCP and may play a role in their neurobehavioral effects in this putative animal model for schizophrenia.
PMCID: PMC2674271  PMID: 18977208
Phencyclidine; Dopamine; Norepinephrine; Adrenoceptor; Prefrontal cortex; Microdialysis
8.  The H3 Antagonist, Ciproxifan, Alleviates the Memory Impairment but Enhances the Motor Effects of MK-801 (Dizocilpine) in Rats. 
Neuropharmacology  2010;59(6):492-502.
Antagonists of H3-type histamine receptors exhibit cognitive-enhancing properties in various memory paradigms as well as evidence of antipsychotic activity in normal animals. The present study determined if a prototypical H3 antagonist, ciproxifan, could reverse the behavioral effects of MK-801, a drug used in animals to mimic the hypoglutamatergic state suspected to exist in schizophrenia. Four behaviors were chosen for study, locomotor activity, ataxia, prepulse inhibition (PPI), and delayed spatial alternation, since their modification by dizocilpine (MK-801) has been well characterized. Adult male Long-Evans rats were tested after receiving a subcutaneous injection of ciproxifan or vehicle followed twenty minutes later by a subcutaneous injection of MK-801 or vehicle. Three doses of MK-801 (0.05, 0.1, & 0.3 mg/kg) increased locomotor activity. Each dose of ciproxifan (1.0 & 3.0 mg/kg) enhanced the effect of the moderate dose of MK-801, but suppressed the effect of the high dose. Ciproxifan (3.0 mg/kg) enhanced the effects of MK-801 (0.1 & 0.3 mg/kg) on fine movements and ataxia. Deficits in PPI were observed after treatment with MK-801 (0.05 & 0.1 mg/kg), but ciproxifan did not alter these effects. Delayed spatial alternation was significantly impaired by MK-801 (0.1 mg/kg) at a longer delay, and ciproxifan (3.0 mg/kg) alleviated this impairment. These results indicate that some H3 antagonists can alleviate the impact of NMDA receptor hypofunction on some forms of memory, but may exacerbate its effect on other behaviors.
PMCID: PMC2946466  PMID: 20621107
Histamine; glutamate; locomotor activity; prepulse inhibition; ataxia; working memory; NMDA receptor
9.  Co-administration of 5-HT6 receptor antagonists with clozapine, risperidone, and a 5-HT2A receptor antagonist: effects on prepulse inhibition in rats 
Psychopharmacology  2013;231(1):269-281.
Some novel antipsychotics manifest antagonistic activity at serotonin-6 receptors; however, little is known about the role of 5-HT6 receptors in ameliorating sensory gating deficits.
We evaluated the effects of the combined administration of the 5-HT6 receptor antagonist SB 271046 with clozapine and haloperidol, as well as the co-administration of SB 271046 or SB 399885 with risperidone and the 5-HT2A antagonist M100907, to overcome the deficits induced by MK-801 in the prepulse inhibition (PPI) test.
MK-801 (0.1 mg/kg) produced reliable PPI deficits. Administration of SB 271046 (6 and 9 mg/kg), SB 399885 (3 and 6 mg/kg), clozapine (2.5 mg/kg), haloperidol (0.1 and 0.2 mg/kg), risperidone (0.25–1 mg/kg), and M100907 (0.5 and 1 mg/kg) did not affect the MK-801-induced deficits, but the administration of clozapine (5 mg/kg) did reverse the effects of MK-801. In MK-801-treated rats, the co-administration of inactive doses of clozapine (2.5 mg/kg) and SB 271046 (6 mg/kg) reversed the PPI impairments compared to animals that were administered inactive doses of either clozapine or SB 271046 alone. Co-administration of risperidone (1 mg/kg) or M100907 (0.5 mg/kg) with SB 271046 (6 mg/kg) or SB 399885 (3 mg/kg) also attenuated the MK-801-induced PPI deficits. In contrast, joint administration of haloperidol and SB 271046 had no effect on the PPI deficit.
The present results suggest that the 5-HT6 receptors may play adjunctive roles in antipsychotic drug action, and that the combination of 5-HT2A and 5-HT6 antagonism may represent an important element in the pharmacological profile of antipsychotic drugs.
PMCID: PMC3889519  PMID: 23954911
5-HT6 receptor; 5-HT2A receptor; Clozapine; Risperidone; Prepulse inhibition; Startle response; Schizophrenia; Antipsychotics
10.  Spinal NMDA Receptors and Nociception-evoked Release of Primary Afferent Substance P 
Neuroscience  2008;152(1):119-127.
Dorsal horn NMDA receptors contribute significantly to spinal nociceptive processing through an effect postsynaptic to non-primary glutamatergic axons, and perhaps presynaptic to the primary afferent terminals. The present study sought to examine the regulatory effects of NMDA receptors on primary afferent release of SP, as measured by neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1r) internalization in the spinal dorsal horn of rats. The effects of intrathecal NMDA alone or in combination with D-serine (a glycine site agonist) was initially examined on basal levels of NK1r internalization. NMDA alone or when co-administered with D-serine failed to induce NK1r internalization, whereas activation of spinal TRPV1 receptors by capsaicin resulted in a notable NK1r internalization. To determine whether NMDA receptor activation could potentiate NK1r internalization or pain behavior induced by a peripheral noxious stimulus, intrathecal NMDA was given prior to an intraplantar injection of formalin. NMDA did not alter the formalin-induced NK1r internalization nor did it enhance the formalin paw flinching behavior. To further characterize the effects of presynaptic NMDA receptors, the NMDA antagonists AP-5 and MK-801 were intrathecally administered to assess their regulatory effects on formalin-induced NK1r internalization and pain behavior. AP-5 had no effect on formalin-induced NK1r internalization, whereas MK-801 produced only a modest reduction. Both antagonists, however, reduced the formalin paw flinching behavior. In subsequent in vitro experiments, perfusion of NMDA in spinal cord slice preparations did not evoke basal release of SP or calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). Likewise, perfusion of NMDA did not enhance capsaicin-evoked release of the two peptides. These results suggest that presynaptic NMDA receptors in the spinal cord play little if any role on the primary afferent release of SP.
PMCID: PMC2730522  PMID: 18222611
Neurokinin 1 receptor; internalization; dorsal horn; glutamate; C-fiber
11.  Presynaptic NMDA Receptors Mediate IPSC Potentiation at GABAergic Synapses in Developing Rat Neocortex 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(2):e17311.
NMDA receptors are traditionally viewed as being located postsynaptically, at both synaptic and extrasynaptic locations. However, both anatomical and physiological studies have indicated the presence of NMDA receptors located presynaptically. Physiological studies of presynaptic NMDA receptors on neocortical GABAergic terminals and their possible role in synaptic plasticity are lacking.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We report here that presynaptic NMDA receptors are present on GABAergic terminals in developing (postnatal day (PND) 12-15) but not older (PND21-25) rat frontal cortex. Using MK-801 in the recording pipette to block postsynaptic NMDA receptors, evoked and miniature IPSCs were recorded in layer II/III pyramidal cells in the presence of AMPA/KA receptor antagonists. Bath application of NMDA or NMDA receptor antagonists produced increases and decreases in mIPSC frequency, respectively. Physiologically patterned stimulation (10 bursts of 10 stimuli at 25 Hz delivered at 1.25 Hz) induced potentiation at inhibitory synapses in PND12-15 animals. This consisted of an initial rapid, large increase in IPSC amplitude followed by a significant but smaller persistent increase. Similar changes were not observed in PND21-25 animals. When 20 mM BAPTA was included in the recording pipette, potentiation was still observed in the PND12-15 group indicating that postsynaptic increases in calcium were not required. Potentiation was not observed when patterned stimulation was given in the presence of D-APV or the NR2B subunit antagonist Ro25-6981.
The present results indicate that presynaptic NMDA receptors modulate GABA release onto neocortical pyramidal cells. Presynaptic NR2B subunit containing NMDA receptors are also involved in potentiation at developing GABAergic synapses in rat frontal cortex. Modulation of inhibitory GABAergic synapses by presynaptic NMDA receptors may be important for proper functioning of local cortical networks during development.
PMCID: PMC3041804  PMID: 21365001
12.  Positive Allosteric Modulation of Metabotropic Glutamate 5 (mGlu5) Receptors Reverses N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Antagonist-Induced Alteration of Neuronal Firing in Prefrontal Cortex 
Biological psychiatry  2007;62(7):739-746.
Several lines of evidence suggest that N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor hypofunction may be associated with schizophrenia. Activation of metabotropic glutamate 5 (mGlu5) receptors enhances NMDA receptor mediated currents in vitro, implying that allosteric modulation of mGlu5 receptors may have therapeutic efficacy for schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to determine if positive allosteric modulators of mGlu5 receptors are effective in reversing two cellular effects of NMDA receptor antagonists that are relevant to schizophrenia: increases in corticolimbic dopamine neurotransmission and disruption of neuronal activity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC).
In freely moving rats, we measured the effects of the positive modulator of mGlu5 receptor 3-cyano-N-(1,3-diphenyl-1H-pyrazol-5-yl)benzamide (CDPPB) alone or in combination with the NMDA antagonist MK801 on 1) spontaneous firing and bursting of medial PFC (mPFC) neurons, and 2) dopamine release as measured by microdialysis in the mPFC and nucleus accumbens (NAc).
The predominant effect of CDPPB on mPFC neurons was excitatory, leading to an overall excitatory population response. Pretreatment with CDPPB prevented MK801-induced excessive firing and reduced spontaneous bursting. In contrast, CDPPB had no significant effect on basal dopamine release as compared with control rats and did not alter MK801-induced activation of dopamine release in the mPFC and NAc.
These results show that positive modulation of mGlu5 receptors reverses the effects of noncompetitive NMDA antagonists on cortical neuronal firing without affecting dopamine neurotransmission. Thus, these compounds may be effective in ameliorating PFC mediated behavioral abnormalities that results from NMDA receptor hypofunction.
PMCID: PMC2910402  PMID: 17511968
Antipsychotic drugs; cognition; dopamine; ensemble recording; schizophrenia
13.  Hippocampal serotonin depletion unmasks differences in the hyperlocomotor effects of phencyclidine and MK-801: quantitative versus qualitative analyses 
Antagonism of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors by phencyclidine (PCP) is thought to underlie its ability to induce a schizophrenia-like syndrome in humans, yet evidence indicates it has a broader pharmacological profile. Our previous lesion studies highlighted a role for serotonergic projections from the median, but not dorsal, raphe nucleus in mediating the hyperlocomotor effects of PCP, without changing the action of the more selective NMDA receptor antagonist, MK-801. Here we compared locomotor responses to PCP and MK-801 in rats that were administered 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine (5,7-DHT) into either the dorsal or ventral hippocampus, which are preferentially innervated by median and dorsal raphe, respectively. Dorsal hippocampus lesions potentiated PCP-induced hyperlocomotion (0.5, 2.5 mg/kg), but not the effect of MK-801 (0.1 mg/kg). Ventral hippocampus lesions did not alter the hyperlocomotion elicited by either compound. Given that PCP and MK-801 may induce different spatiotemporal patterns of locomotor behavior, together with the known role of the dorsal hippocampus in spatial processing, we also assessed whether the 5,7-DHT-lesions caused any qualitative differences in locomotor responses. Treatment with PCP or MK-801 increased the smoothness of the path traveled (reduced spatial d) and decreased the predictability of locomotor patterns within the chambers (increased entropy). 5,7-DHT-lesions of the dorsal hippocampus did not alter the effects of PCP on spatial d or entropy – despite potentiating total distance moved – but caused a slight reduction in levels of MK-801-induced entropy. Taken together, serotonergic lesions targeting the dorsal hippocampus unmask a functional differentiation of the hyperlocomotor effects of PCP and MK-801. These findings have implications for studies utilizing NMDA receptor antagonists in modeling glutamatergic dysfunction in schizophrenia.
PMCID: PMC3756227  PMID: 24009584
serotonin; hippocampus; phencyclidine; MK-801; 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine; locomotor hyperactivity; spatial d; entropy
14.  Disruption of social approach by MK-801, amphetamine, and fluoxetine in adolescent C57BL/6J mice 
Autism is a severe neurodevelopmental disorder, diagnosed on the basis of core behavioral symptoms. Although the mechanistic basis for the disorder is not yet known, genetic analyses have suggested a role for abnormal excitatory/inhibitory signaling systems in brain, including dysregulation of glutamatergic neurotransmission. In mice, the constitutive knockdown of NMDA receptors leads to social deficits, repetitive behavior, and self-injurious responses that reflect aspects of the autism clinical profile. However, social phenotypes differ with age: mice with reduced NMDA-receptor function exhibit hypersociability in adolescence, but markedly deficient sociability in adulthood. The present studies determined whether acute disruption of NMDA neurotransmission leads to exaggerated social approach, similar to that observed with constitutive disruption, in adolescent C57BL/6J mice. The effects of MK-801, an NMDA receptor antagonist, were compared with amphetamine, a dopamine agonist, and fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, on performance in a three-chamber choice task. Results showed that acute treatment with MK-801 led to social approach deficits at doses without effects on entry numbers. Amphetamine also decreased social preference, but increased number of entries at every dose. Fluoxetine (10 mg/kg) had selective effects on social novelty preference. Withdrawal from a chronic ethanol regimen decreased activity, but did not attenuate sociability. Low doses of MK-801 and amphetamine were also evaluated in a marble-burying assay for repetitive behavior. MK-801, at a dose that did not disrupt sociability or alter entries, led to a profound reduction in marble-burying. Overall, these findings demonstrate that moderate alteration of NMDA, dopamine, or serotonin function can attenuate social preference in wild type mice.
PMCID: PMC3509253  PMID: 22898204
amphetamine; autism; ethanol withdrawal; repetitive behavior; social approach; stereotypy
15.  Pharmacological or genetic orexin1 receptor inhibition attenuates MK-801 induced glutamate release in mouse cortex 
The orexin/hypocretin neuropeptides are produced by a cluster of neurons within the lateral posterior hypothalamus and participate in neuronal regulation by activating their receptors (OX1 and OX2 receptors). The orexin system projects widely through the brain and functions as an interface between multiple regulatory systems including wakefulness, energy balance, stress, reward, and emotion. Recent studies have demonstrated that orexins and glutamate interact at the synaptic level and that orexins facilitate glutamate actions. We tested the hypothesis that orexins modulate glutamate signaling via OX1 receptors by monitoring levels of glutamate in frontal cortex of freely moving mice using enzyme coated biosensors under inhibited OX1 receptor conditions. MK-801, an NMDA receptor antagonist, was administered subcutaneously (0.178 mg/kg) to indirectly disinhibit pyramidal neurons and therefore increase cortical glutamate release. In wild-type mice, pretreatment with the OX1 receptor antagonist GSK-1059865 (10 mg/kg S.C.) which had no effect by itself, significantly attenuated the cortical glutamate release elicited by MK-801. OX1 receptor knockout mice had a blunted glutamate release response to MK-801 and exhibited about half of the glutamate release observed in wild-type mice in agreement with the data obtained with transient blockade of OX1 receptors. These results indicate that pharmacological (transient) or genetic (permanent) inhibition of the OX1 receptor similarly interfere with glutamatergic function in the cortex. Selectively targeting the OX1 receptor with an antagonist may normalize hyperglutamatergic states and thus may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of various psychiatric disorders associated with hyperactive states.
PMCID: PMC4033200  PMID: 24904253
orexin; orexin 1 receptor; glutamate; MK-801; cortex; biosensor
16.  Intra-cornu ammonis 1 administration of the human immunodeficiency virus-1 transcription factor Tat exacerbates the ethanol withdrawal syndrome in rodents and activates N-methyl-d-aspartate glutamate receptors to produce persisting spatial learning deficits 
Neuroscience  2009;163(3):868-876.
Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) infection may produce neurological deficits, such as cognitive decline, that may be worsened by concurrent ethanol (EtOH) abuse. Among the many biochemical cascades likely mediating HIV-1 associated neuronal injury is enhancement of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor function and progression to excitotoxicity, an effect that may be directly or indirectly related to accumulation in brain of the HIV-1 transcription factor Tat. The present studies were designed to examine the hypothesis that binge-like EtOH pre-exposure would enhance effects of Tat on NMDA receptor function. These studies employed a modified in vivo binge EtOH exposure regimen designed to produce peak blood EtOH levels (B.E.L.) of <200 mg/dl in adult male rats and were designed to examine effects of intra-hippocampal injection of Tat (0.5 µl/500 pM/2 min) on EtOH withdrawal-related behavior, spatial learning, and histological measures. Unilateral cannulae were implanted into the cornu ammonus 1 (CA1) pyramidal cell layer of animals prior to beginning a 4-day binge EtOH regimen. EtOH was administered via intragastric intubation (~3.0–5.0g/kg) with dose determined by behavioral ratings of intoxication daily for four days (at 0800, 1600, and 2400 hrs). EtOH withdrawal behaviors were monitored 12 hr after the last administration of EtOH. Morris water maze learning was assessed during the following 4 days, at which times brains were harvested for autoradiographic measurement of NMDA receptor density and neuroinflammation. Maximal B.E.L.s of 187.69 mg/dl were observed 60 min after EtOH administration on Day 2 of the regimen. In contrast, peak B.E.L.s of approximately 100 mg/dl were observed 60 min after EtOH administration on Day 4 of the regimen, suggesting development of metabolic tolerance. Significant behavioral abnormalities were observed in EtOH withdrawn animals, including tremor and seizures. Intra-CA1 region injection of Tat significantly potentiated EtOH withdrawal behavioral abnormalities, an effect that was reduced by MK-801 pre-exposure. While EtOH withdrawn animals showed learning similar to control animals, EtOH withdrawn animals that received intra-CA1 Tat injection demonstrated persisting deficits in spatial learning on Days 3 and 4 of training, effects that were markedly reduced by administration of the competitive NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 30 min prior to Tat injection. No changes in [3H]MK-801 binding were observed. Binding density of [3H]PK11195, a ligand for peripheral benzodiazepine receptors expressed on activated microglia, was elevated proximal to cannulae tracts in all animals, but was not altered by EtOH or Tat exposure. These finding suggest that EtOH abuse and/or dependence in HIV-positive individuals may promote HIV-1-associated cognitive deficits by altering NMDA receptor function in the absence of microglial activation or neuroinflammation.
PMCID: PMC2773563  PMID: 19619615
Alcoholism; AIDS; Memory; Substance Abuse; HIV-Associated Dementia; Hippocampus
17.  The Glycine Transporter-1 Inhibitor SSR103800 Displays a Selective and Specific Antipsychotic-like Profile in Normal and Transgenic Mice 
Neuropsychopharmacology  2009;35(2):416-427.
Schizophrenia has been initially associated with dysfunction in dopamine neurotransmission. However, the observation that antagonists of the glutamate N-methyl--aspartate (NMDA) receptor produce schizophrenic-like symptoms in humans has led to the idea of a dysfunctioning of the glutamatergic system via its NMDA receptor. As a result, there is a growing interest in the development of pharmacological agents with potential antipsychotic properties that enhance the activity of the glutamatergic system via a modulation of the NMDA receptor. Among them are glycine transporter-1 (GlyT1) inhibitors such as SSR103800, which indirectly enhance NMDA receptor function by increasing the glycine (a co-agonist for the NMDA receptor) levels in the synapse. This study aimed at investigating the potential antipsychotic-like properties of SSR103800, with a particular focus on models of hyperactivity, involving either drug challenge (ie, amphetamine and MK-801) or transgenic mice (ie, NMDA Nr1neo−/− and DAT−/−). Results showed that SSR103800 (10–30 mg/kg p.o.) blocked hyperactivity induced by the non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist, MK-801 and partially reversed spontaneous hyperactivity of NMDA Nr1neo−/− mice. In contrast, SSR103800 failed to affect hyperactivity induced by amphetamine or naturally observed in dopamine transporter (DAT−/−) knockout mice (10–30 mg/kg p.o.). Importantly, both classical (haloperidol) and atypical (olanzapine, clozapine and aripiprazole) antipsychotics were effective in all these models of hyperactivity. However, unlike these latter, SSR103800 did not produce catalepsy (retention on the bar test) up to 30 mg/kg p.o. Together these findings show that the GlyT1 inhibitor, SSR103800, produces antipsychotic-like effects, which differ from those observed with compounds primarily targeting the dopaminergic system, and has a reduced side-effect potential as compared with these latter drugs.
PMCID: PMC3055391  PMID: 19759529
antipsychotic; NMDA receptor; dopamine transporter; GlyT1; SSR103800; schizophrenia
18.  Cortical lesion-induced visual hemineglect is prevented by NMDA antagonist pretreatment 
Large unilateral visual cortex lesions produce enduring contralesional visual orientation deficits. To examine whether glutamate excitotoxicity is involved in establishing these deficits, cats were pretreated with the NMDA receptor antagonist dizocilpine (MK801) 30 min prior to unilateral visual cortex ablation. Pretreated MK801 animals were trained first in an orientation task in which they were required to fixate directly ahead and then orient to stimuli introduced at various eccentricities throughout the visual field. They did not display the characteristic ipsilesional head and neck asymmetries and/or spontaneous ipsiversive rotational behaviors or show the profound contralesional visual neglect seen post-operatively in non-pretreated control animals. Rather, pretreated animals were able to orient to visual stimuli in the contralesional hemifield immediately following surgical recovery. Post-mortem histology revealed severe retrograde degeneration of the ipsilesional lateral geniculate nucleus in both experimental groups, suggesting that post-lesion visuomotor behavioral competencies in pretreated animals are attributable to preserved function in non-geniculocortical visual pathways. These observations are consistent with the hypothesis that visual cortex lesions normally induce secondary alterations via NMDA-mediated excitotoxicity in these other pathways that prevents them from supporting visuomotor behaviors. The similar behavioral competencies of MK801 pretreated animals and those whose lesion-induced deficits are ameliorated by removing basal ganglia afferents to the ipsilesional superior colliculus are consistent with this hypothesis and highlight the normal functional capabilities of this circuit. It is likely that MK801 pretreatment acts, at least in part, by preserving the normal inter-hemispheric control dynamics with which the basal ganglia influence superior colliculus-mediated orientation behaviors.
PMCID: PMC2696124  PMID: 19474318
superior colliculus; basal ganglia; excitotoxicity; visual orientation; Sprague Effect; blindsight
19.  Role of Thalamic Projection in NMDA Receptor-Induced Disruption of Cortical Slow Oscillation and Short-Term Plasticity 
NMDA receptor (NMDAR) antagonists, such as phencyclidine, ketamine, or dizocilpine (MK-801) are commonly used in psychiatric drug discovery in order to model several symptoms of schizophrenia, including psychosis and impairments in working memory. In spite of the widespread use of NMDAR antagonists in preclinical and clinical studies, our understanding of the mode of action of these drugs on brain circuits and neuronal networks is still limited. In the present study spontaneous local field potential (LFP), multi- (MUA) and single-unit activity, and evoked potential, including paired-pulse facilitation (PPF) in response to electrical stimulation of the ipsilateral subiculum were carried out in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in urethane anesthetized rats. Systemic administration of MK-801 (0.05 mg/kg, i.v.) decreased overall MUA, with a diverse effect on single-unit activity, including increased, decreased, or unchanged firing, and in line with our previous findings shifted delta-frequency power of the LFP and disrupted PPF (Kiss et al., 2011). In order to provide further insight to the mechanisms of action of NMDAR antagonists, MK-801 was administered intracranially into the mPFC and mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus (MD). Microinjections of MK-801, but not physiological saline, localized into the MD evoked changes in both LFP parameters and PPF similar to the effects of systemically administered MK-801. Local microinjection of MK-801 into the mPFC was without effect on these parameters. Our findings indicate that the primary site of the action of systemic administration of NMDAR antagonists is unlikely to be the cortex. We presume that multiple neuronal networks, involving thalamic nuclei contribute to disrupted behavior and cognition following NMDAR blockade.
PMCID: PMC3089990  PMID: 21556284
MK-801; paired-pulse facilitation; local field potential; unit activity; medial prefrontal cortex; localized drug microinjection; subiculum; schizophrenia
20.  Treadmill exercise inhibits hippocampal apoptosis through enhancing N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor expression in the MK-801-induced schizophrenic mice 
Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder characterized by abnormal mental functioning and disruptive behaviors. Abnormal expression of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, one of the glutamate receptor subtypes, has also been suggested to contribute to the symptoms of schizophrenia. The effect of treadmill exercise on schizophrenia-induced apoptosis in relation with NMDA receptor has not been evaluated. In the present study, we investigated the effect of treadmill exercise on neuronal apoptosis in the hippocampus using MK-801-induced schizophrenic mice. MK-801 was intraperitoneally injected once a day for 2 weeks. The mice in the exercise groups were forced to run on a treadmill exercise for 60 min, once a day for 2 weeks. In the present results, repeated injection of the NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 reduced expression of NMDA receptor in hippocampal CA2-3 regions. MK-801 injection increased casapse-3 expression and enhanced cytochrome c release in the hippocampus. The ratio of Bax to Bcl-2 was higher in the MK-801-induced schizophrenia mice than the normal mice. In contrast, treadmill exercise enhanced NMDA receptor expression, suppressed caspae-3 activation and cytochrome c release, and inhibited the ratio of Bax to Bcl-2. Based on present finding, we concluded that NMDA receptor hypofunctioning induced neuronal apoptosis in MK-801-induced schizophrenic mice. Treadmill exercise suppressed neuronal apoptosis through enhancing NMDA receptor expression in schizophrenic mice.
PMCID: PMC4157928  PMID: 25210696
Schizophrenia; Treadmill exercise; N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor; Apoptosis; Mice
21.  Evidence for involvement of nitric oxide and GABAB receptors in MK-801- stimulated release of glutamate in rat prefrontal cortex 
Neuropharmacology  2012;63(4):575-581.
Systemic administration of NMDA receptor antagonists elevates extracellular glutamate within prefrontal cortex. The cognitive and behavioral effects of NMDA receptor blockade have direct relevance to symptoms of schizophrenia, and recent studies demonstrate an important role for nitric oxide and GABAB receptors in mediating the effects of NMDA receptor blockade on these behaviors. We sought to extend those observations by directly measuring the effects of nitric oxide and GABAB receptor mechanisms on MK-801-induced glutamate release in the prefrontal cortex. Systemic MK-801 injection (0.3 mg/kg) to male Sprague-Dawley rats significantly increased extracellular glutamate levels in prefrontal cortex, as determined by microdialysis. This effect was blocked by pretreatment with the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor L-NAME (60 mg/kg). Reverse dialysis of the nitric oxide donor SNAP (0.5 – 5 mM) directly into prefrontal cortex mimicked the effect of systemic MK-801, dose-dependently elevating cortical extracellular glutamate. The effect of MK-801 was also blocked by systemic treatment with the GABAB receptor agonist baclofen (5 mg/kg). In combination, these data suggest increased nitric oxide formation is necessary for NMDA antagonist-induced elevations of extracellular glutamate in the prefrontal cortex. Additionally, the data suggest GABAB receptor activation can modulate the NMDA antagonist-induced increase in cortical glutamate release.
PMCID: PMC3392446  PMID: 22579658
glutamate; nitric oxide; MK-801; GABA; NMDA receptor; schizophrenia
Animals learn to prefer flavors associated with the intake of dietary fats such as corn oil (CO) solutions. We previously reported that fat-conditioned flavor preferences in rats were relatively unaffected by systemic treatment with dopamine D1 and D2 antagonsits. The present study examined whether systemic opioid (naltrexone, NTX) or NMDA (MK-801) receptor antagonists altered the acquisition and/or expression of CO-CFP. The CFP was produced by training rats to drink one novel flavor (CS+, e.g., cherry) mixed in a 3.5% CO solution and another flavor (CS−, e.g., grape) in a 0.9% CO solution. In expression studies, food-restricted rats drank these solutions in one-bottle sessions (2 h) over 10 days. Subsequent two-bottle tests with the CS+ and CS− flavors mixed in 0.9% CO solutions occurred 0.5 h after systemic administration of vehicle (VEH), NTX (0.1–5 mg/kg) or MK-801 (50–200 ug/kg). Rats displayed a robust CS+ preference following VEH treatment (85–88%) which was significantly though moderately attenuated by NTX (69–70%). The lower doses of MK-801 slightly reduced the CS+ preference; the high dose blocked the CS+ preference (49%) but also markedly reduced overall CS intake. In separate acquisition studies, rats received VEH or NTX (0.1, 0.5, 1 mg/kg) or MK-801 (100 ug/kg) 0.5 h prior to 1-bottle training trials with CS+/3.5% CO and CS−/0.9% CO training solutions. Additional Limited VEH groups were trained with intakes limited to that of the NTX and MK-801 groups. Subsequent two-bottle CS+ vs. CS− tests were conducted without injections. Significant and persistent CS+ preferences were observed in VEH (77–84%) and Limited VEH (88%) groups. NTX treatment during training failed to block the acquisition of CO-CFP although the magnitude of the CS+ preference was reduced by 0.5 (70%) and 1.0 (72%) mg/kg doses relative to the Limited VEH treatment (88%). In contrast, MK-801 (100 ug/kg) treatment during training blocked the acquisition of the CO-CFP. These data suggest a critical role for NMDA, but not opioid receptor signaling in the acquisition of a fat conditioned flavor preferences, and at best limited involvement of NMDA and opioid receptors in the expression of a previously learned preference.
PMCID: PMC3513665  PMID: 23103774
Corn Oil; Naltrexone; MK-801; Learning
23.  Cholinesterase Inhibitors Ameliorate Behavioral Deficits Induced by MK-801 in Mice 
Enhancing cholinergic function has been suggested as a possible strategy for ameliorating the cognitive deficits of schizophrenia. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors in mice treated with the non-competitive N-methyl-daspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, MK-801, which has been suggested as an animal model of the cognitive deficits of schizophrenia. Three separate experiments were conducted to test the effects of physostigmine, donepezil or galantamine on deficits in learning and memory induced by MK-801. In each experiment, MK-801 (0.05 mg/kg or 0.10mg/kg) or saline was administered i.p. 20 minutes prior to behavioral testing over a total of 14 days. Thirty minutes prior to administration of MK-801 or saline, one of three doses of the AChE inhibitor (i.e., physostigmine - 0.03, 0.10, or 0.30 mg/kg, donepezil - 0.10, 0.30, or 1.00 mg/kg, or galantamine - 0.25, 0.50, or 1.00 mg/kg) or saline was administered s.c. Behavioral testing was performed in all experimental animals using the following sequence: 1) spatial reversal learning, 2) locomotion, 3) fear conditioning and 4) shock sensitivity. Both doses of MK-801 produced impairments in spatial reversal learning and in contextual and cued memory, as well as hyperlocomotion. Physostigmine and donepezil, but not galantamine, ameliorated MK-801-induced deficits in spatial reversal learning and in contextual and cued memory in a dose-dependent manner. Also, physostigmine, but not donepezil or galantamine, reversed MK-801-induced hyperlocomotion. None of the AChE inhibitors altered shock sensitivity. These results suggest that AChE inhibitors may differ in their capacity to ameliorate learning and memory deficits produced by MK-801 in mice, which may be related to the cognitive effects of cholinomimetic drugs in patients with schizophrenia.
PMCID: PMC1361686  PMID: 15956997
24.  Postnatal BDNF Expression Profiles in Prefrontal Cortex and Hippocampus of a Rat Schizophrenia Model Induced by MK-801 Administration 
Neonatal blockade of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors represents one of experimental animal models for schizophrenia. This study is to investigate the long-term brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression profiles in different regions and correlation with “schizophrenia-like” behaviors in the adolescence and adult of this rat model. The NMDA receptor antagonist MK801 was administered to female Sprague-Dawley rats on postnatal days (PND) 5 through 14. Open-field test was performed on PND 42, and PND 77 to examine the validity of the current model. BDNF protein levels in hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (PFC) were analyzed on PND 15, PND 42, and PND 77. Results showed that neonatal challenge with MK-801 persistently elevated locomotor activity as well as BDNF expression; the alterations in BDNF expression varied at different developing stages and among brain regions. However, these findings provide neurochemical evidence that the blockade of NMDA receptors during brain development results in long-lasting alterations in BDNF expression and might contribute to neurobehavioral pathology of the present animal model for schizophrenia. Further study in the mechanisms and roles of the BDNF may lead to better understanding of the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.
PMCID: PMC2896884  PMID: 20625416
Neuroscience  2010;171(4):1341-1356.
Hyperalgesia in animal injury models is linked to activation of descending raphespinal modulatory circuits originating in the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM). A neurokinin-1 (NK-1) receptor antagonist microinjected into the RVM before or after inflammation produced by complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) resulted in an attenuation of thermal hyperalgesia. A transient (acute) or a continuous infusion of Substance P (SP) microinjected into the RVM of non-inflamed animals led to similar pain hypersensitivity. Intrathecal pretreatment or post-treatment of a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist (Y-25130 or ondansetron) blocked the SP-induced hyperalgesia. The SP-induced hyperalgesia was both GABAA and NMDA receptor-dependent after pre- and post-treatment with selective antagonists at the spinal level. A microinjection of SP into the RVM also led to increased NMDA NR1 receptor subunit phosphorylation in spinal cord tissue. The GABAA receptor-mediated hyperalgesia involved a shift in the anionic gradient in dorsal horn nociceptive neurons and an increase in phosphorylated NKCC1 protein (isoform of the Na-K-Cl cotransporter). Following a low dose of SP infused into the RVM, intrathecal muscimol (GABAA agonist) increased SP-induced thermal hyperalgesia, phosphorylated NKCC1 protein expression, and NMDA NR1 subunit phosphorylation in the spinal cord. The thermal hyperalgesia was blocked by intrathecal gabazine, the GABAA receptor antagonist, and MK-801, the NMDA receptor channel blocker. These findings indicate that NK-1 receptors in the RVM are involved in SP-induced thermal hyperalgesia, this hyperalgesia is 5-HT3-receptor dependent at the spinal level, and involves the functional interaction of spinal GABAA and NMDA receptors.
PMCID: PMC3006078  PMID: 20888891
substance P; inflammation; brainstem; serotonin; NMDA receptor; GABAA receptor

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