Amphetamine was discovered over 100 years ago. Since then, it has transformed from a drug that was freely available without prescription as a panacea for a broad range of disorders into a highly restricted Controlled Drug with therapeutic applications restricted to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. This review describes the relationship between chemical structure and pharmacology of amphetamine and its congeners. Amphetamine’s diverse pharmacological actions translate not only into therapeutic efficacy, but also into the production of adverse events and liability for recreational abuse. Accordingly, the balance of benefit/risk is the key challenge for its clinical use. The review charts advances in pharmaceutical development from the introduction of once-daily formulations of amphetamine through to lisdexamfetamine, which is the first d-amphetamine prodrug approved for the management of ADHD in children, adolescents and adults. The unusual metabolic route for lisdexamfetamine to deliver d-amphetamine makes an important contribution to its pharmacology. How lisdexamfetamine’s distinctive pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic profile translates into sustained efficacy as a treatment for ADHD and its reduced potential for recreational abuse is also discussed.
Abuse liability; amphetamine; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); drug formulations; lisdexamfetamine; microdialysis
This positron emission tomography (PET) study aimed to further define selectivity of [11C]Ro15-4513 binding to the GABARα5 relative to the GABARα1 benzodiazepine receptor subtype. The impact of zolpidem, a GABARα1-selective agonist, on [11C]Ro15-4513, which shows selectivity for GABARα5, and the nonselective benzodiazepine ligand [11C]flumazenil binding was assessed in humans. Compartmental modelling of the kinetics of [11C]Ro15-4513 time-activity curves was used to describe distribution volume (VT) differences in regions populated by different GABA receptor subtypes. Those with low α5 were best fitted by one-tissue compartment models; and those with high α5 required a more complex model. The heterogeneity between brain regions suggested spectral analysis as a more appropriate method to quantify binding as it does not a priori specify compartments. Spectral analysis revealed that zolpidem caused a significant VT decrease (∼10%) in [11C]flumazenil, but no decrease in [11C]Ro15-4513 binding. Further analysis of [11C]Ro15-4513 kinetics revealed additional frequency components present in regions containing both α1 and α5 subtypes compared with those containing only α1. Zolpidem reduced one component (mean±s.d.: 71%±41%), presumed to reflect α1-subtype binding, but not another (13%±22%), presumed to reflect α5. The proposed method for [11C]Ro15-4513 analysis may allow more accurate selective binding assays and estimation of drug occupancy for other nonselective ligands.
GABA; imaging; kinetic modelling; pharmacokinetics; positron emission tomography
The subjective measures used to study mood disorders in humans cannot be replicated in animals; however, the increasing application of objective neuropsychological methods provides opportunities to develop translational animal tasks. Here we describe a novel behavioral approach, which has enabled us to investigate similar affective biases in rodents. In our affective bias test (ABT), rats encounter two independent positive experiences—the association between food reward and specific digging substrate—during discrimination learning sessions. These are performed on separate days under either neutral conditions or during a pharmacological or affective state manipulation. Affective bias is then quantified using a preference test where both previously rewarded substrates are presented together and the rat's choices recorded. The absolute value of the experience is kept consistent and all other factors are counterbalanced so that any bias at recall can be attributed to treatment. Replicating previous findings from studies in healthy volunteers, we observe significant positive affective biases following acute treatment with typical (fluoxetine, citalopram, reboxetine, venlafaxine, clomipramine) and atypical antidepressants (agomelatine, mirtazapine), and significant negative affective biases following treatment with drugs associated with inducing negative affective states in humans (FG7142, rimonabant, 13-cis retinoic acid). We also observed that acute psychosocial stress and environmental enrichment induce significant negative and positive affective biases, respectively, and provide evidence that these affective biases involve memory consolidation. The positive and negative affective biases induced in our test also mirror the antidepressant and pro-depressant effects of these drugs in patients suggesting our test has both translational and predictive validity. Our results suggest that cognitive affective biases could contribute to drug- or stress-induced mood changes in people and support the hypothesis that a cognitive neuropsychological mechanism contributes to antidepressant drug efficacy.
affective bias; animal models; antidepressant; behavioral Science; mood/anxiety/stress disorders; pro-depressant; psychopharmacology; translational; depression; antidepressant; pro-depressant; affective bias; animal model
The electroencephalographic/magnetoencephalographic (EEG/MEG) signal is generated primarily by the summation of the postsynaptic currents of cortical principal cells. At a microcircuit level, these glutamatergic principal cells are reciprocally connected to GABAergic interneurons. Here we investigated the relative sensitivity of visual evoked and induced responses to altered levels of endogenous GABAergic inhibition. To do this, we pharmacologically manipulated the GABA system using tiagabine, which blocks the synaptic GABA transporter 1, and so increases endogenous GABA levels. In a single-blinded and placebo-controlled crossover study of 15 healthy participants, we administered either 15 mg of tiagabine or a placebo. We recorded whole-head MEG, while participants viewed a visual grating stimulus, before, 1, 3 and 5 h post tiagabine ingestion. Using beamformer source localization, we reconstructed responses from early visual cortices. Our results showed no change in either stimulus-induced gamma-band amplitude increases or stimulus-induced alpha amplitude decreases. However, the same data showed a 45% reduction in the evoked response component at ∼80 ms. These data demonstrate that, in early visual cortex the evoked response shows a greater sensitivity compared with induced oscillations to pharmacologically increased endogenous GABA levels. We suggest that previous studies correlating GABA concentrations as measured by magnetic resonance spectroscopy to gamma oscillation frequency may reflect underlying variations such as interneuron/inhibitory synapse density rather than functional synaptic GABA concentrations.
gamma oscillations; alpha rhythm; GABA; tiagabine; evoked responses; alpha oscillations; electroencephalography; evoked responses; GABA; gamma oscillations; imaging; clinical or preclinical; magnetoencephalography; neuropharmacology; neurophysiology
Pathological gambling (PG) is a behavioural addiction associated with elevated impulsivity and suspected dopamine dysregulation. Reduced striatal dopamine D2/D3 receptor availability has been reported in drug addiction, and may constitute a premorbid vulnerability marker for addictive disorders. The aim of the present study was to assess striatal dopamine D2/D3 receptor availability in PG, and its association with trait impulsivity. Males with PG (n = 9) and male healthy controls (n = 9) underwent [11C]-raclopride positron emission tomography imaging and completed the UPPS-P impulsivity scale. There was no significant difference between groups in striatal dopamine D2/D3 receptor availability, in contrast to previous reports in drug addiction. However, mood-related impulsivity (‘Urgency’) was negatively correlated with [11C]-raclopride binding potentials in the PG group. The absence of a group difference in striatal dopamine binding implies a distinction between behavioural addictions and drug addictions. Nevertheless, our data indicate heterogeneity in dopamine receptor availability in disordered gambling, such that individuals with high mood-related impulsivity may show differential benefits from dopamine-based medications.
► Assessed 11C-raclopride binding in pathological gambling, a putative behavioral addiction. ► No group difference in striatal dopamine binding from healthy controls. ► Dopamine binding negatively correlated with mood-related impulsivity (‘Urgency’).
Gambling; Impulsivity; Dopamine; Neuroimaging; Addiction; Striatum
Molecular in vivo neuroimaging techniques can be used to measure regional changes in endogenous neurotransmitters, evoked by challenges that alter synaptic neurotransmitter concentration. This technique has most successfully been applied to the study of endogenous dopamine release using positron emission tomography, but has not yet been adequately extended to other neurotransmitter systems. This review focuses on how the technique has been applied to the study of the 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) system. The principles behind visualising fluctuations in neurotransmitters are introduced, with reference to the dopaminergic system. Studies that aim to image acute, endogenous 5-HT release or depletion at 5-HT receptor targets are summarised, with particular attention to studies in humans. Radiotracers targeting the 5-HT1A, 5-HT2A, and 5-HT4 receptors and the serotonin reuptake transporter have been explored for their sensitivity to 5-HT fluctuations, but with mixed outcomes; tracers for these targets cannot reliably image endogenous 5-HT in humans. Shortcomings in our basic knowledge of the mechanisms underlying changes in binding potential are addressed, and suggestions are made as to how the selection of targets, radiotracers, challenge paradigms, and experimental design might be optimised to improve our chances of successfully imaging endogenous neurotransmitters in the future.
endogenous neurotransmitter release; positron emission tomography (PET); 5-HT
Caffeine, a widely consumed adenosine A1 and A2A receptor antagonist, is valued as a psychostimulant, but it is also anxiogenic. An association between a variant within the ADORA2A gene (rs5751876) and caffeine-induced anxiety has been reported for individuals who habitually consume little caffeine. This study investigated whether this single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) might also affect habitual caffeine intake, and whether habitual intake might moderate the anxiogenic effect of caffeine. Participants were 162 non-/low (NL) and 217 medium/high (MH) caffeine consumers. In a randomized, double-blind, parallel groups design they rated anxiety, alertness, and headache before and after 100 mg caffeine and again after another 150 mg caffeine given 90 min later, or after placebo on both occasions. Caffeine intake was prohibited for 16 h before the first dose of caffeine/placebo. Results showed greater susceptibility to caffeine-induced anxiety, but not lower habitual caffeine intake (indeed coffee intake was higher), in the rs5751876 TT genotype group, and a reduced anxiety response in MH vs NL participants irrespective of genotype. Apart from the almost completely linked ADORA2A SNP rs3761422, no other of eight ADORA2A and seven ADORA1 SNPs studied were found to be clearly associated with effects of caffeine on anxiety, alertness, or headache. Placebo administration in MH participants decreased alertness and increased headache. Caffeine did not increase alertness in NL participants. With frequent consumption, substantial tolerance develops to the anxiogenic effect of caffeine, even in genetically susceptible individuals, but no net benefit for alertness is gained, as caffeine abstinence reduces alertness and consumption merely returns it to baseline.
caffeine; adenosine; polymorphism; anxiety; alertness; headache; psychopharmacology; psychostimulants; addiction & substance abuse; pharmacogenetics; pharmacogenomics; caffeine; adenosine; anxiety; alertness; headache; polymorphism
The authors have previously reported genomic subtypes of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) based on expression of 88 human genes.
To attempt to reproduce these findings, determine the specificity of this signature to CFS/ME, and test for associations between CFS/ME subtype and infection.
Expression levels of 88 human genes were determined in blood of 62 new patients with idiopathic CFS/ME (according to Fukuda criteria), six patients with Q-fever-associated CFS/ME from the Birmingham Q-fever outbreak (according to Fukuda criteria), 14 patients with endogenous depression (according to DSM-IV criteria) and 29 normal blood donors.
In patients with CFS/ME, differential expression was confirmed for all 88 genes. Q-CFS/ME had similar patterns of gene expression to idiopathic CFS/ME. Gene expression in patients with endogenous depression was similar to that in the normal controls, except for upregulation of five genes (APP, CREBBP, GNAS, PDCD2 and PDCD6).
Clustering of combined gene data in CFS/ME patients for this and the authors' previous study (117 CFS/ME patients) revealed genomic subtypes with distinct differences in SF36 scores, clinical phenotypes, severity and geographical distribution. Antibody testing for Epstein–Barr virus, enterovirus, Coxiella burnetii and parvovirus B19 revealed evidence of subtype-specific relationships for Epstein–Barr virus and enterovirus, the two most common infectious triggers of CFS/ME.
This study confirms the involvement of these genes in CFS/ME.
Chronic fatigue syndrome; myalgic encephalomyelitis; subtypes; gene expression; endogenous depression; Epstein–Barr virus; parvovirus B19; Coxiella burnetii; enterovirus
Drugs that bind to imidazoline binding proteins have major physiological actions. To date, three subtypes of such proteins, I1, I2 and I3, have been proposed, although characterisations of these binding proteins are lacking. I2 binding sites are found throughout the brain, particularly dense in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. Selective I2 ligands demonstrate antidepressant-like activity and the identity of the proteins that respond to such ligands remained unknown until now. Here we report the isolation of a ∼ 45 kDa imidazoline binding protein from rabbit and rat brain using a high affinity ligand for the I2 subtype, 2-BFI, to generate an affinity column. Following protein sequencing of the isolated ∼ 45 kDa imidazoline binding protein, we identified it to be brain creatine kinase (B-CK). B-CK shows high binding capacity to selective I2 ligands; [3H]-2-BFI (5 nM) specifically bound to B-CK (2330 ± 815 fmol mg protein− 1). We predicted an I2 binding pocket near the active site of B-CK using molecular modelling. Furthermore, B-CK activity was inhibited by a selective I2 irreversible ligand, where 20 μM BU99006 reduced the enzyme activity by 16%, confirming the interaction between B-CK and the I2 ligand. In summary, we have identified B-CK to be the ∼ 45 kDa imidazoline binding protein and we have demonstrated the existence of an I2 binding site within this enzyme. The importance of B-CK in regulating neuronal activity and neurotransmitter release may well explain the various actions of I2 ligands in brain and the alterations in densities of I2 binding sites in psychiatric disorders.
2-BFI, 2-(2-benzofuranyl)2-imidazoline; BU224, 2-(4,5-dihydroimidaz-2-yl)quinoline; BU99006, 5-isothiocyanoato-2-benzofuranyl-2-imidazoline; B-CK, brain creatine kinase; CK, creatine kinase; GOLD, genetic optimisation for ligand docking; GR, glucose-responsive; I2, imidazoline-2 subtype; KATP channel, ATP sensitive potassium channel; MAO, monoamine oxidase; MOE, molecular operating environment; Imidazoline binding protein; Creatine kinase; 2-BFI; Harmane and psychiatric disorders
A considerable body of evidence suggests the involvement of serotonin neurotransmission in the pathogenesis of panic disorder. Research on pathways and functions of tryptophan, an essential amino acid converted into serotonin, may advance our understanding of serotonergic actions in panic disorder and related phenomena. The investigative approaches in this field include manipulations of tryptophan availability as well as genetic association and functional brain imaging studies. In this review we examine the principle findings of these studies and propose further research directions.
tryptophan; panic disorder; anxiety; challenge; gene
What role do selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have in treating psychiatric morbidity in patients with cardiovascular disease? This review discusses the safety and efficacy of various antidepressants in this group of patients and their potential for improving cardiovascular outcomes
The aim of this paper is to increase awareness of the prevalence and cost of psychiatric and neurological disorders (brain disorders) in the UK.
UK data for 18 brain disorders were extracted from a systematic review of European epidemiological data and prevalence rates and the costs of each disorder were summarized (2010 values).
There were approximately 45 million cases of brain disorders in the UK, with a cost of €134 billion per annum. The most prevalent were headache, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, mood disorders and somatoform disorders. However, the five most costly disorders (€ million) were: dementia: €22,164; psychotic disorders: €16,717; mood disorders: €19,238; addiction: €11,719; anxiety disorders: €11,687. Apart from psychosis, these five disorders ranked amongst those with the lowest direct medical expenditure per subject (<€3000). The approximate breakdown of costs was: 50% indirect costs, 25% direct non-medical and 25% direct healthcare costs.
The prevalence and cost of UK brain disorders is likely to increase given the ageing population. Translational neurosciences research has the potential to develop more effective treatments but is underfunded. Addressing the clinical and economic challenges posed by brain disorders requires a coordinated effort at an EU and national level to transform the current scientific, healthcare and educational agenda.
Brain disorders; cost; burden