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The human Y receptor (YR) and its cognate ligand, pancreatic polypeptide (PP), are involved in the regulation of energy expenditure, satiety, and food intake. This system represents a potential target for the treatment of metabolic diseases and has been extensively investigated and validated in vivo. Here, we present the compound tBPC (tert-butylphenoxycyclohexanol), a novel and selective YR positive allosteric modulator that potentiates YR activation in G-protein signaling and arrestin3 recruitment experiments. The compound has no effect on the binding of the orthosteric ligands, implying its allosteric mode of action at the YR and evidence for a purely efficacy-driven positive allosteric modulation. Finally, the ability of tBPC to selectively potentiate YR agonism initiated by PP was confirmed in mouse descending colon mucosa preparations expressing native YR, demonstrating YR positive allosteric modulation in vitro.
BACKGROUND - Increasing the available repertoire of effective treatments for mood and anxiety disorders represents a critical unmet need. Pharmacological augmentation of endogenous cannabinoid (eCB) signaling has been suggested to represent a novel approach to the treatment of anxiety disorders; however, the functional interactions between two canonical eCB pathways mediated via anandamide (N-arachidonylethanolamine [AEA]) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in the regulation of anxiety are not well understood.
METHODS - We utilized pharmacological augmentation and depletion combined with behavioral and electrophysiological approaches to probe the role of 2-AG signaling in the modulation of stress-induced anxiety and the functional redundancy between AEA and 2-AG signaling in the modulation of anxiety-like behaviors in mice.
RESULTS - Selective 2-AG augmentation reduced anxiety in the light/dark box assay and prevented stress-induced increases in anxiety associated with limbic AEA deficiency. In contrast, acute 2-AG depletion increased anxiety-like behaviors, which was normalized by selective pharmacological augmentation of AEA signaling and via direct cannabinoid receptor 1 stimulation with Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol. Electrophysiological studies revealed 2-AG modulation of amygdala glutamatergic transmission as a key synaptic correlate of the anxiolytic effects of 2-AG augmentation.
CONCLUSIONS - Although AEA and 2-AG likely subserve distinct physiological roles, a pharmacological and functional redundancy between these canonical eCB signaling pathways exists in the modulation of anxiety-like behaviors. These data support development of eCB-based treatment approaches for mood and anxiety disorders and suggest a potentially wider therapeutic overlap between AEA and 2-AG augmentation approaches than was previously appreciated.
Copyright © 2017 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Schizophrenia is a devastating neurodevelopmental disorder that affects approximately 1% of the population. Reduced expression of the 67-kDa protein isoform of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD67) is a hallmark of the disease and is encoded by the GAD1 gene. In schizophrenia, GAD67 downregulation occurs in multiple interneuronal subpopulations, including the cannabinoid receptor type 1 positive (CNR1+) cells, but the functional consequences of these disturbances are not well understood. To investigate the role of the CNR1-positive GABA-ergic interneurons in behavioral and molecular processes, we employed a novel, miRNA-mediated transgenic mouse approach. We silenced the Gad1 transcript using a miRNA engineered to specifically target Gad1 mRNA under the control of Cnr1 bacterial artificial chromosome. Behavioral characterization of our transgenic mice showed elevated and persistent conditioned fear associated with an auditory cue and a significantly altered response to an amphetamine challenge. These deficits could not be attributed to sensory deficits or changes in baseline learning and memory. Furthermore, HPLC analyses revealed that Cnr1/Gad1 mice have enhanced serotonin levels, but not dopamine levels in response to amphetamine. Our findings demonstrate that dysfunction of a small subset of interneurons can have a profound effect on behavior and that the GABA-ergic, monoamine, and cannabinoid systems are functionally interconnected. The results also suggest that understanding the function of various interneuronal subclasses might be essential to develop knowledge-based treatment strategies for various mental disorders including schizophrenia and substance abuse.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
It has been suggested that disturbances in endocannabinoid signaling contribute to the development of depressive illness; however, at present there is insufficient evidence to allow for a full understanding of this role. To further this understanding, we performed an analysis of the endocannabinoid system in an animal model of depression. Male rats exposed to chronic, unpredictable stress (CUS) for 21 days exhibited a reduction in sexual motivation, consistent with the hypothesis that CUS in rats induces depression-like symptoms. We determined the effects of CUS, with or without concurrent treatment with the antidepressant imipramine (10 mg/kg), on CP55940 binding to the cannabinoid CB(1) receptor; whole tissue endocannabinoid content; and fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) activity in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, hypothalamus, amygdala, midbrain and ventral striatum. Exposure to CUS resulted in a significant increase in CB(1) receptor binding site density in the prefrontal cortex and a decrease in CB(1) receptor binding site density in the hippocampus, hypothalamus and ventral striatum. Except in the hippocampus, these CUS-induced alterations in CB(1) receptor binding site density were attenuated by concurrent antidepressant treatment. CUS alone produced a significant reduction in N-arachidonylethanolamine (anandamide) content in every brain region examined, which was not reversed by antidepressant treatment. These data suggest that the endocannabinoid system in cortical and subcortical structures is differentially altered in an animal model of depression and that the effects of CUS on CB(1) receptor binding site density are attenuated by antidepressant treatment while those on endocannabinoid content are not.
Experimental studies indicate a bidirectional, functional relationship between glucocorticoids and the endocannabinoid system; however, the effects of repeated glucocorticoid treatment on the endocannabinoid system have not been examined. In this study, we treated male rats with either a single dose or a 21-day course of treatment with corticosterone (20 mg/kg) and measured hippocampal cannabinoid CB(1) receptor expression and endocannabinoid content. The 21-day, but not the single, administration of corticosterone significantly reduced both the binding site density and amount of protein of the hippocampal cannabinoid CB(1) receptor without affecting affinity for the CB(1) receptor agonist, [(3)H]CP55940. With regard to hippocampal endocannabinoid content, acute corticosterone treatment resulted in a significant reduction in anandamide but did not affect 2-arachidonylglycerol, while repeated corticosterone treatment did not alter content of either anandamide or 2-arachidonylglycerol. These data support the hypothesis that the cannabinoid CB(1) receptor is under negative regulation by glucocorticoids in the hippocampus, and suggest that hippocampal cannabinoid CB(1) receptor signaling could be reduced under conditions associated with hypersecretion of glucocorticoids, such as chronic stress.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Desvenlafaxine succinate (DVS) is a recently introduced antagonist of the human norepinephrine and serotonin transporters (hNET and hSERT, respectively), currently in clinical development for use in the treatment of major depressive disorder and vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. Initial evaluation of the pharmacological properties of DVS (J Pharmacol Exp Ther 318:657-665, 2006) revealed significantly reduced potency for the hNET expressed in membranes compared with whole cells when competing for [(3)H]nisoxetine (NIS) binding. Using hNET in transfected human embryonic kidney-293 cells, this difference in potency for DVS at sites labeled by [(3)H]NIS was found to distinguish DVS, the DVS analog rac-(1-[1-(3-chloro-phenyl)-2-(4-methylpiperazin-1-yl)-ethyl]cyclohexanol (WY-46824), methylphenidate, and the cocaine analog 3beta-(4-iodophenyl)tropane-2beta-carboxylic acid methyl ester (RTI-55) from other hNET antagonists, such as NIS, mazindol, tricyclic antidepressants, and cocaine. These differences seem not to arise from preparation-specific perturbations of ligand intrinsic affinity or antagonist-specific surface trafficking but rather from protein conformational alterations that perturb the relationships between distinct hNET binding sites. In an initial search for molecular features that differentially define antagonist binding determinants, we document that Val148 in hNET transmembrane domain 3 selectively disrupts NIS binding but not that of DVS.