Background and purpose: Despite ample evidence supporting the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) hypofunction hypothesis of schizophrenia, progress in the development of effective therapeutics based on this hypothesis has been limited. Facilitation of NMDA receptor function by co-agonists (D-serine or glycine) only partially alleviates the symptoms in schizophrenia; other means to facilitate NMDA receptors are required. NMDA receptor sub-types differ in their subunit composition, with varied GluN2 subunits (GluN2A-GluN2D) imparting different physiological, biochemical and pharmacological properties. CIQ is a positive allosteric modulator that is selective for GluN2C/GluN2D-containing NMDA receptors (Mullasseril et al.).
Experimental approach: The effect of systemic administration of CIQ was tested on impairment in prepulse inhibition (PPI), hyperlocomotion and stereotypy induced by i.p. administration of MK-801 and methamphetamine. The effect of CIQ was also tested on MK-801-induced impairment in working memory in Y-maze spontaneous alternation test.
Key results: We found that systemic administration of CIQ (20 mg·kg⁻¹, i.p.) in mice reversed MK-801 (0.15 mg·kg⁻¹, i.p.)-induced, but not methamphetamine (3 mg·kg⁻¹, i.p.)-induced, deficit in PPI. MK-801 increased the startle amplitude to pulse alone, which was not reversed by CIQ. In contrast, methamphetamine reduced the startle amplitude to pulse alone, which was reversed by CIQ. CIQ also partially attenuated MK-801- and methamphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion and stereotyped behaviours. Additionally, CIQ reversed the MK-801-induced working memory deficit in spontaneous alternation in a Y-maze.
Conclusion and implications: Together, these results suggest that facilitation of GluN2C/GluN2D-containing receptors may serve as an important therapeutic strategy for treating positive and cognitive symptoms in schizophrenia.
Keywords: CIQ; GRIN2C; GRIN2D; GluN2C; GluN2D; NMDA receptor; prepulse inhibition; schizophrenia; working memory in Y-maze.
© 2013 The British Pharmacological Society.