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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2013 Feb;344(2):501-10. doi: 10.1124/jpet.112.198895. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

In vivo occupancy of dopamine D3 receptors by antagonists produces neurochemical and behavioral effects of potential relevance to attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder.

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Psychiatric Drug Discovery, Lilly Research Laboratories, Lilly Corporate Center, Indianapolis, IN 46285-0501, USA.


Dopamine D(3) receptors have eluded definitive linkage to neurologic and psychiatric disorders since their cloning over 20 years ago. We report a new method that does not employ a radiolabel for simultaneously defining in vivo receptor occupancy of D(3) and D(2) receptors in rat brain after systemic dosing using the tracer epidepride (N-[[(2S)-1-ethylpyrrolidin-2-yl]methyl]-5-iodo-2,3-dimethoxybenzamide). Decreases in epidepride binding in lobule 9 of cerebellum (rich in D(3) receptors) were compared with nonspecific binding in the lateral cerebellum. The in vivo occupancy of the dopamine D(3) receptors was dose dependently increased by SB-277011A (trans-N-[4-[2-(6-cyano-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinolin-2-yl)ethyl]cyclohexyl]-4-quinolinecarboxamide) and U99194 (2,3-dihydro-5,6-dimethoxy- N,N-dipropyl-1H-inden-2-amine). Both antagonists increased extracellular levels of acetylcholine (ACh) in the medial prefrontal cortex of rats and modified brain-tissue levels of ACh and choline. Consistent with these findings, the D(3) receptor antagonists enhanced the acquisition of learning of rats either alone or in the presence of the norepinephrine uptake blocker reboxetine as with the attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug methylphenidate. Like reboxetine, the D(3) receptor antagonists also prevented deficits induced by scopolamine in object recognition memory of rats. Mice in which the dopamine transporter (DAT) has been deleted exhibit hyperactivity that is normalized by compounds that are effective in the treatment of ADHD. Both D(3) receptor antagonists decreased the hyperactivity of DAT(-/-) mice without affecting the activity of wild type controls. The present findings indicate that dopamine D(3) receptor antagonists engender cognition-enhancing and hyperactivity-dampening effects. Thus, D(3) receptor blockade could be considered as a novel treatment approach for cognitive deficits and hyperactivity syndromes, including those observed in ADHD.

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