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J Psychopharmacol. 2016 Mar;30(3):312-7. doi: 10.1177/0269881115625360. Epub 2016 Jan 18.

Antipsychotic drug-like facilitation of latent inhibition by a brain-penetrating neurotensin-1 receptor agonist.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.


Latent inhibition (LI) is a measure of cognitive gating and refers to reduced conditioned learning when there is pre-exposure to the conditioned stimulus (CS) before it is paired with the unconditioned stimulus (US). Dysregulation of LI is associated with some neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, and the ability to facilitate LI in rodents is a reasonably good predictive test for antipsychotic drugs. Converging evidence supports neurotensin-1 receptor (NTS1) agonists as novel drugs for schizophrenia. Therefore, we investigated the ability of a brain-penetrating, selective NTS1 agonist, PD149163, to facilitate LI in heterozygous Brattleboro rats, a strain that exhibits naturally low LI. Conditioned taste aversion to flavored water (FW; 0.1% saccharin) was induced by pairing it with malaise-inducing injections of lithium chloride (LiCl). Prior to LiCl-FW pairing, rats received subcutaneous injections of saline, or PD149163 (100 µg/kg or 200 µg/kg). Half the rats in each drug group had been allowed to drink FW the day before the LiCl-FW pairing (pre-exposed rats). Two days after pairing, the amount of FW each rat consumed was recorded. LI, defined as significantly greater FW drinking in the pre-exposed group compared with the non pre-exposed group, was exhibited only among rats that received 200 µg/kg of PD149163. These results further support NTS1 agonists as potentially novel drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia.


NT; animal models; antipsychotic drugs; latent inhibition; schizophrenia

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