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Neuropharmacology. 2012 Mar;62(3):1413-21. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2010.11.015. Epub 2010 Nov 24.

T-type calcium channel antagonism produces antipsychotic-like effects and reduces stimulant-induced glutamate release in the nucleus accumbens of rats.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, Merck & Co., Inc., WP46-300, 770 Sumneytown Pike, PO Box 4, West Point, PA 19486, USA.


T-type calcium channels are important in burst firing and expressed in brain regions implicated in schizophrenia. Therefore, we examined the effects of novel selective T-type calcium channel antagonists in preclinical assays predictive of antipsychotic-like activity. TTA-A2 blocked the psychostimulant effects of amphetamine and MK-801 and decreased conditioned avoidance responding. These effects appeared mechanism based, rather than compound specific, as two structurally dissimilar T-type antagonists also reduced amphetamine-induced psychomotor activity. Importantly, the ability to reduce amphetamine's effects was maintained following 20 days pre-treatment with TTA-A2. To explore the neural substrates mediating the observed behavioral effects, we examined the influence of TTA-A2 on amphetamine-induced c-fos expression as well as basal and stimulant-evoked dopamine and glutamate release in the nucleus accumbens. TTA-A2 decreased amphetamine-induced c-fos expression as well as MK-801-induced, but not basal, glutamate levels in the nucleus accumbens. Basal, amphetamine- and MK-801-induced dopamine efflux was altered. These findings suggest that T-type calcium channel antagonism could represent a novel mechanism for treating schizophrenia.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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