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Mol Pharmacol. 2007 Aug;72(2):477-84. Epub 2007 May 25.

A selective positive allosteric modulator of metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 2 blocks a hallucinogenic drug model of psychosis.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, 8140 MRB III, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.


Recent clinical studies reveal that selective agonists of group II metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors have robust efficacy in treating positive and negative symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. Group II mGlu receptor agonists also modulate the in vivo activity of psychotomimetic drugs and reduce the ability of psychotomimetic hallucinogens to increase glutamatergic transmission. Because increased excitation of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) has been implicated in pathophysiology of schizophrenia, the ability of group II mGlu receptor agonists to reduce hallucinogenic drug action in this region is believed to be directly related to their antipsychotic efficacy. A novel class of ligands, termed positive allosteric modulators, has recently been identified, displaying exceptional mGlu2 receptor selectivity. These compounds do not activate mGlu2 receptors directly but potentiate the ability of glutamate and other agonists to activate this receptor. We now report that the mGlu2 receptor-selective positive allosteric modulator biphenyl-indanone A (BINA) modulates excitatory neurotransmission in the mPFC and attenuates the in vivo actions of the hallucinogenic 5-HT(2A/2C) receptor agonist (-)2,5-dimethoxy-4-bromoamphetamine [(-)DOB]. BINA attenuates serotonin-induced increases in spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents in the mPFC, mimicking the effect of the mGlu2/3 receptor agonist (2S,2'R,3'R)-2-(2',3'-dicarboxycyclopropyl)glycine (DCG-IV). In addition, BINA reduced (-)DOB-induced head twitch behavior and Fos expression in mPFC, effects reversed by pretreatment with the mGlu2/3 receptor antagonist 2S-2-amino-2-(1S,2S-2-carboxycyclopropan-1-yl) -3 - (xanth-9-yl-)propionic acid (LY341495). These data confirm the relevance of excitatory signaling in the mPFC to the behavioral actions of hallucinogens and further support the targeting of mGlu2 receptors as a novel strategy for treating glutamatergic dysfunction in schizophrenia.

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