Selegiline (L-deprenyl) is a selective, irreversible inhibitor of monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) at the conventional dose (10 mg/day oral) that is used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. However, controlled studies have demonstrated antidepressant activity for high doses of oral selegiline and for transdermal selegiline suggesting that when plasma levels of selegiline are elevated, brain MAO-A might also be inhibited. Zydis selegiline (Zelapar) is an orally disintegrating formulation of selegiline, which is absorbed through the buccal mucosa producing higher plasma levels of selegiline and reduced amphetamine metabolites compared with equal doses of conventional selegiline. Although there is indirect evidence that Zydis selegiline at high doses loses its selectivity for MAO-B, there is no direct evidence that it also inhibits brain MAO-A in humans. We measured brain MAO-A in 18 healthy men after a 28-day treatment with Zydis selegiline (2.5, 5.0, or 10 mg/day) and in 3 subjects receiving the selegiline transdermal system (Emsam patch, 6 mg/day) using positron emission tomography and the MAO-A radiotracer [11C]clorgyline. We also measured dopamine transporter (DAT) availability in three subjects from the 10 mg group. The 10 mg Zydis selegiline dose significantly inhibited MAO-A (36.9±19.7%, range 11–70%, p<0.007)) but not DAT; and while Emsam also inhibited MAO-A (33.2±28.9 (range 9–68%) the difference did not reach significance (p=0.10)) presumably because of the small sample size. Our results provide the first direct evidence of brain MAO-A inhibition in humans by formulations of selegiline, which are currently postulated but not verified to target brain MAO-A in addition to MAO-B.
Relapse vulnerability in cocaine dependence is rooted in genetic and environmental determinants, and propelled by both impulsivity and the responsivity to cocaine-linked cues (‘cue reactivity'). The serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) 5-HT2C receptor (5-HT2CR) within the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is uniquely poised to serve as a strategic nexus to mechanistically control these behaviors. The 5-HT2CR functional capacity is regulated by a number of factors including availability of active membrane receptor pools, the composition of the 5-HT2CR macromolecular protein complex, and editing of the 5-HT2CR pre-mRNA. The one-choice serial reaction time (1-CSRT) task was used to identify impulsive action phenotypes in an outbred rat population before cocaine self-administration and assessment of cue reactivity in the form of lever presses reinforced by the cocaine-associated discrete cue complex during forced abstinence. The 1-CSRT task reliably and reproducibly identified high impulsive (HI) and low impulsive (LI) action phenotypes; HI action predicted high cue reactivity. Lower cortical 5-HT2CR membrane protein levels concomitant with higher levels of 5-HT2CR:postsynaptic density 95 complex distinguished HI rats from LI rats. The frequency of edited 5-HT2CR mRNA variants was elevated with the prediction that the protein population in HI rats favors those isoforms linked to reduced signaling capacity. Genetic loss of the mPFC 5-HT2CR induced aggregate impulsive action/cue reactivity, suggesting that depressed cortical 5-HT2CR tone confers vulnerability to these interlocked behaviors. Thus, impulsive action and cue reactivity appear to neuromechanistically overlap in rodents, with the 5-HT2CR functional status acting as a neural rheostat to regulate, in part, the intersection between these vulnerability behaviors.
5-HT2C receptor; addiction & substance abuse; animal models; Biological Psychiatry; cocaine; cue reactivity; impulsive action; prefrontal cortex; RNA editing; Serotonin; impulsive action; 5-HT2C receptor; cocaine; cue reactivity; prefrontal cortex; RNA editing
Modern science is characterized by integration and synergy between research fields. Accordingly, as technological advances allow new and more ambitious quests in scientific inquiry, numerous analytical and engineering techniques have become useful tools in biological research. The focus of this review is on cutting edge technologies that aid direct measurement of bioactive compounds in the nervous system to facilitate fundamental research, diagnostics, and drug discovery. We discuss challenges associated with measurement of cell-to-cell signaling molecules in the nervous system, and advocate for a decrease of sample volumes to the nanoliter volume regimen for improved analysis outcomes. We highlight effective approaches for the collection, separation, and detection of such small-volume samples, present strategies for targeted and discovery-oriented research, and describe the required technology advances that will empower future translational science.
CE-MS; lab-on-chip; mass spectrometry; Molecular & Cellular Neurobiology; neurochemistry; neuropeptides; neurotransmitters; sampling; single cell analysis; mass spectrometry; sampling; single-cell analysis; lab-on-chip; CE-MS; neurotransmitters
The pharmacological modification of dopamine transmission has long been employed as a therapeutic tool in the treatment of many mental health disorders. However, as many of the pharmacotherapies today are not without significant side effects, or they alleviate only a particular subset of symptoms, the identification of novel therapeutic targets is imperative. In light of these challenges, the recognition that dopamine receptors can form heteromers has significantly expanded the range of physiologically relevant signaling complexes as well as potential drug targets. Furthermore, as the physiology and disease relevance of these receptor heteromers is further understood, their ability to exhibit pharmacological and functional properties distinct from their constituent receptors, or modulate the function of endogenous homomeric receptor complexes, may allow for the development of alternate therapeutic strategies and provide new avenues for drug design. In this review, we describe the emerging neurobiology of the known dopamine receptor heteromers, their physiological relevance in brain, and discuss the potential role of these receptor complexes in neuropsychiatric disease. We highlight their value as targets for future drug development and discuss innovative research strategies designed to selectively target these dopamine receptor heteromers in the search for novel and clinically efficacious pharmacotherapies.
dopamine receptor heteromers; heterooligomerization; receptor dimerization; receptor complexes; G protein-coupled receptor; neuropsychiatric disorders; Dopamine; Heterooligomerization; Molecular & Cellular Neurobiology; Oligomerization; Receptor Heteromer; Receptor Pharmacology; Signal Transduction
Drug candidates directed against amyloid-β (Aβ) are mainstream in Alzheimer's disease (AD) drug development. Active and passive Aβ immunotherapy is the principle that has come furthest, both in number and in stage of clinical trials. However, an increasing number of reports on major difficulties in identifying any clinical benefit in phase II–III clinical trials on this type of anti-Aβ drug candidates have caused concern among researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and other stakeholders. This has provided critics of the amyloid cascade hypothesis with fire for their arguments that Aβ deposition may merely be a bystander, and not the cause, of the disease or that the amyloid hypothesis may only be valid for the familial form of AD. On the other hand, most researchers argue that it is the trial design that will need refinement to allow for identifying a positive clinical effect of anti-Aβ drugs. A consensus in the field is that future trials need to be performed in an earlier stage of the disease and that biomarkers are essential to guide and facilitate drug development. In this context, it is reassuring that, in contrast to most brain disorders, research advances in the AD field have led to both imaging (magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and PET) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers for the central pathogenic processes of the disease. AD biomarkers will have a central role in future clinical trials to enable early diagnosis, and Aβ biomarkers (CSF Aβ42 and amyloid PET) may be essential to allow for testing a drug on patients with evidence of brain Aβ pathology. Pharmacodynamic Aβ and amyloid precursor protein biomarkers will be of use to verify target engagement of a drug candidate in humans, thereby bridging the gap between mechanistic data from transgenic AD models (that may not be relevant to the neuropathology of human AD) and large and expensive phase III trials. Last, downstream biomarker evidence (CSF tau proteins and MRI volumetry) that the drug ameliorates neurodegeneration will, together with beneficial clinical effects on cognition and functioning, be essential for labeling an anti-Aβ drug as disease modifying.
Alzheimer's Disease; biomarker; cerebrospinal fluid; Cognition; mild cognitive impairment (MCI); Neurodegeneration; Neuroprotection; Neurology; phosphorylated tau; tau protein; Alzheimer's disease; biomarker; amyloid-β (Aβ); cerebrospinal fluid; clinical trial; theragnostic
Although advances in psychotherapy have been made in recent years, drug discovery for
brain diseases such as schizophrenia and mood disorders has stagnated. The need for new
biomarkers and validated therapeutic targets in the field of neuropsychopharmacology is
widely unmet. The brain is the most complex part of human anatomy from the standpoint of
number and types of cells, their interconnections, and circuitry. To better meet patient
needs, improved methods to approach brain studies by understanding functional networks
that interact with the genome are being developed. The integrated biological
approaches—proteomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, and glycomics—have a
strong record in several areas of biomedicine, including neurochemistry and
neuro-oncology. Published applications of an integrated approach to projects of
neurological, psychiatric, and pharmacological natures are still few but show promise to
provide deep biological knowledge derived from cells, animal models, and clinical
materials. Future studes that yield insights based on integrated analyses promise to
deliver new therapeutic targets and biomarkers for personalized medicine.
computational neuroscience; Drug Discovery; Development; Molecular & Cellular Neurobiology; Neuropharmacology; Pharmacogenetics; Pharmacogenomics; systems biology; neurological disease; neuro-oncology; psychiatric disorder; systems biology
Metabolomics research has the potential to provide biomarkers for the detection of disease, for subtyping complex disease populations, for monitoring disease progression and therapy, and for defining new molecular targets for therapeutic intervention. These potentials are far from being realized because of a number of technical, conceptual, financial, and bioinformatics issues. Mass spectrometry provides analytical platforms that address the technical barriers to success in metabolomics research; however, the limited commercial availability of analytical and stable isotope standards has created a bottleneck for the absolute quantitation of a number of metabolites. Conceptual and financial factors contribute to the generation of statistically under-powered clinical studies, whereas bioinformatics issues result in the publication of a large number of unidentified metabolites. The path forward in this field involves targeted metabolomics analyses of large control and patient populations to define both the normal range of a defined metabolite and the potential heterogeneity (eg, bimodal) in complex patient populations. This approach requires that metabolomics research groups, in addition to developing a number of analytical platforms, build sufficient chemistry resources to supply the analytical standards required for absolute metabolite quantitation. Examples of metabolomics evaluations of sulfur amino-acid metabolism in psychiatry, neurology, and neuro-oncology and of lipidomics in neurology will be reviewed.
Alzheimer's Disease; autism; Biological Psychiatry; glioblastoma; lipiodomics; metabolomics; Neurochemistry; Neurology; sulfur amino acids; metabolomics; autism; schizophrenia; glioblastoma; plasmalogens; sulfatides
Despite high prevalence and enormous unmet medical need, the pharmaceutical industry has recently de-emphasized neuropsychiatric disorders as ‘too difficult' a challenge to warrant major investment. Here I describe major obstacles to drug discovery and development including a lack of new molecular targets, shortcomings of current animal models, and the lack of biomarkers for clinical trials. My major focus, however, is on new technologies and scientific approaches to neuropsychiatric disorders that give promise for revitalizing therapeutics and may thus answer industry's concerns.
Animal models; Biomarkers; Genetics; Molecular & Cellular Neurobiology; Psychopharmacology; Schizophrenia/Antipsychotics; Stem Cells; psychiatric genetics; animal models; stem cells
Recent studies have shown that gene regulation is far more complex than previously believed and does not completely explain changes at the protein level. Therefore, the direct study of the proteome, considerably different in both complexity and dynamicity to the genome/transcriptome, has provided unique insights to an increasing number of researchers. During the past decade, extraordinary advances in proteomic techniques have changed the way we can analyze the composition, regulation, and function of protein complexes and pathways underlying altered neurobiological conditions. When combined with complementary approaches, these advances provide the contextual information for decoding large data sets into meaningful biologically adaptive processes. Neuroproteomics offers potential breakthroughs in the field of alcohol research by leading to a deeper understanding of how alcohol globally affects protein structure, function, interactions, and networks. The wealth of information gained from these advances can help pinpoint relevant biomarkers for early diagnosis and improved prognosis of alcoholism and identify future pharmacological targets for the treatment of this addiction.
Addiction & Substance Abuse; Alcohol & Alcoholism; biomarkers; dependence; Drug Discovery; Development; Molecular & Cellular Neurobiology; protein expression; protein–protein interactions; Proteomics; dependence; addiction; gene expression; protein expression; protein–protein interactions; miRNA
There has been significant progress in personalized drug development. In large part, this has taken place in the oncology field and been due to the ability of researchers/clinicians to discover and develop novel drug development tools (DDTs), such as biomarkers. In cancer treatment research, biomarkers have permitted a more accurate pathophysiological characterization of an individual patient, and have enabled practitioners to target mechanistically the right drug, to the right patient, at the right time. Similar to cancer, patients with substance use disorders (SUDs) present clinically with heterogeneous symptomatology and respond variably to therapeutic interventions. If comparable biomarkers could be identified and developed for SUDs, significant diagnostic and therapeutic advances could be made. In this review, we highlight current opportunities and difficulties pertaining to the identification and development of biomarkers for SUDs. We focus on cocaine dependence as an example. Putative diagnostic, pharmacodynamic (PD), and predictive biomarkers for cocaine dependence are discussed across a range of methodological approaches. A possible cocaine-dependent clinical outcome assessment (COA)—another type of defined DDT—is also discussed. At present, biomarkers for cocaine dependence are in their infancy. Much additional research will be needed to identify, validate, and qualify these putative tools prior to their potential use for medications development and/or application to clinical practice. However, with a large unmet medical need and an estimated market size of several hundred million dollars per year, if developed, biomarkers for cocaine dependence will hold tremendous value to both industry and public health.
addiction & substance abuse; biomarker; drug discovery/development; molecular & cellular neurobiology; psychostimulants; biomarkers; cocaine dependence; drug development tools; addiction
Mass spectrometry imaging is a powerful tool for directly determining the distribution of proteins, peptides, lipids, neurotransmitters, metabolites and drugs in neural tissue sections in situ. Molecule-specific imaging can be achieved using various ionization techniques that are suited to different applications but which all yield data with high mass accuracies and spatial resolutions. The ability to simultaneously obtain images showing the distributions of chemical species ranging from metal ions to macromolecules makes it possible to explore the chemical organization of a sample and to correlate the results obtained with specific anatomical features. The imaging of biomolecules has provided new insights into multiple neurological diseases, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Mass spectrometry imaging can also be used in conjunction with other imaging techniques in order to identify correlations between changes in the distribution of important chemical species and other changes in the properties of the tissue. Here we review the applications of mass spectrometry imaging in neuroscience research and discuss its potential. The results presented demonstrate that mass spectrometry imaging is a useful experimental method with diverse applications in neuroscience.
imaging; clinical or preclinical; lipid; mass spectrometry; molecular & cellular neurobiology; neurochemistry; neuropeptide; neurotransmitter; protein; psychopharmacology; mass spectrometry imaging; protein; neuropeptide; neurotransmitter; lipid
Morphine is a classic analgesic for the treatment of chronic pain. However, its repeated use is known to produce tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction; these properties limit its long-term therapeutic use and this has led to a quest for therapeutics without these unwanted side effects. Understanding the molecular changes in response to long-term use of morphine is likely to aid in the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of pain. Studies examining the effects of chronic morphine administration have reported alterations in gene expression, synapse morphology, and synaptic transmission implying changes in synaptic protein profile. To fully understand the changes in protein profiles, proteomic techniques have been used. Studies using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of various brain regions combined with mass spectrometry have found alterations in the levels of a number of proteins. However, neither the changes in brain regions relevant to morphine effects nor changes in the abundance of synaptic proteins have been clearly delineated. Recent studies employing subcellular fractionation to isolate the striatal synapse, combined with quantitative proteomics and graph theory-inspired network analyses, have begun to quantify morphine-regulated changes in synaptic proteins and facilitate the generation of networks that could serve as targets for the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of chronic pain. Thus, an integrated quantitative proteomics and systems biology approach can be useful to identify novel targets for the treatment of pain and other disorders of the brain.
Addiction & Substance Abuse; Graph theory; Molecular & Cellular Neurobiology; Mu opioid receptor; Neuropharmacology; Opioids; Pain; Post synaptic density; Protein-protein interaction; Synaptic Plasticity; opiate; pain; addiction; synaptic plasticity; proteomics; μ-opioid receptor