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Neuropharmacology. 2013 Oct;73:232-40. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2013.05.038. Epub 2013 Jun 12.

NK1 receptor antagonism lowers occupancy requirement for antidepressant-like effects of SSRIs in the gerbil forced swim test.

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  • 1Neuroscience Biology, Bristol-Myers Squibb, 5 Research Parkway, Wallingford, CT 06492-7660, USA.


The known interactions between the serotonergic and neurokinin systems suggest that serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) efficacy may be improved by neurokinin-1 receptor (NK1R) antagonism. In the current studies combination of a subeffective dose of an SSRI (0.3 mg/kg fluoxetine or 0.03 mg/kg citalopram) with a subeffective dose of an NK1R antagonist (0.3 mg/kg aprepitant or 1 mg/kg CP-122,721) produced efficacy in the gerbil forced swim test (FST). Serotonin transporter (SERT) occupancy produced by 1 mg/kg fluoxetine (lowest efficacious dose) was 52 ± 5% and was reduced to 29 ± 4% at 0.3 mg/kg, a dose that was efficacious in combination with 0.3 mg/kg aprepitant or 1 mg/kg CP-122,721; the corresponding NK1R occupancies were 79 ± 4% and 61 ± 4% for aprepitant and CP-122,721, respectively. For citalopram, SERT occupancy at the lowest efficacious dose (0.1 mg/kg) was 50 ± 4% and was reduced to 20 ± 5% at 0.03 mg/kg, a dose that was efficacious when combined with aprepitant (0.3 mg/kg). Aprepitant (10 mg/kg) augmented the serotonin elevation produced by fluoxetine (1 or 10 mg/kg) in the gerbil prefrontal cortex; i.e. NK1R antagonism can modulate serotonin responses. A novel orally-available dual-acting NK1R antagonist/SERT inhibitor BMS-795176 is described; gerbil Ki = 1.4 and 1 nM at NK1R and SERT, respectively. BMS-795176 was efficacious in the gerbil FST; efficacy was observed with 35 ± 3% SERT occupancy and 73 ± 3% NK1R occupancy. The interaction between NK1R antagonism and SERT inhibition to lower the SERT occupancy required for antidepressant-like efficacy suggests that BMS-795176 has the potential to improve efficacy with a reduction in SSRI-associated side effects.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


BMS-795176; Depression; Gerbil; Neurokinin-1 receptor; Occupancy; Serotonin transporter

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