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The present study deals with the functional interaction of antipsychotic drugs and NMDA receptors. We show that both the conventional antipsychotic drug haloperidol and the atypical antipsychotic drug clozapine mediate gene expression via intracellular regulation of NMDA receptors, albeit to different extents. Data obtained in primary striatal culture demonstrate that the intraneuronal signal transduction pathway activated by haloperidol, the cAMP pathway, leads to phosphorylation of the NR1 subtype of the NMDA receptor at (897)Ser. Haloperidol treatment is likewise shown to increase (897)Ser-NR1 phosphorylation in rats in vivo. Mutation of (896)Ser and (897)Ser to alanine, which prevents phosphorylation at both sites, inhibits cAMP-mediated gene expression. We conclude that antipsychotic drugs have the ability to modulate NMDA receptor function by an intraneuronal signal transduction mechanism. This facilitation of NMDA activity is necessary for antipsychotic drug-mediated gene expression and may contribute to the therapeutic benefits as well as side effects of antipsychotic drug treatment.
Globoid cell leukodystrophy (Krabbe's disease) is an autosomal recessive disease that affects the lysosomal enzyme galactosylceramidase. Galactosylceramidase removes galactose from galactosylceramide and psychosine, which are derived from sphingosine. In the present study, L-cycloserine (an inhibitor of 3-ketodyhydrosphingosine synthase) was administered to the twitcher mouse, an authentic model of globoid cell leukodystrophy. Twitcher mice treated with L-cycloserine had a significantly longer life span and a delayed onset of weight loss than vehicle-injected twitcher mice. Pathological features such as macrophage infiltration and astrocyte gliosis also were less in treated twitcher mice. These results indicate that substrate reduction therapy may have therapeutic value for individuals with residual enzymatic activity, e.g., individuals with late onset disease or individuals with partial enzyme replacement via bone marrow transplantation. In these cases, a reduction in galactosylceramide and psychosine synthesis would enable residual enzymatic activity to keep up with the accumulation of these substrates that would otherwise lead to pathology.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.