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The dorsolateral striatum is critically involved in movement control and motor learning. Striatal function is regulated by a variety of neuromodulators including acetylcholine. Previous studies have shown that cholinergic activation excites striatal principal projection neurons, medium spiny neurons (MSNs), and this action is mediated by muscarinic acetylcholine subtype 1 receptors (M) through modulating multiple potassium channels. In the present study, we used electrophysiology techniques in conjunction with optogenetic and pharmacological tools to determine the long-term effects of striatal cholinergic activation on MSN intrinsic excitability. A transient increase in acetylcholine release in the striatum by optogenetic stimulation resulted in a long-lasting increase in excitability of MSNs, which was associated with hyperpolarizing shift of action potential threshold and decrease in afterhyperpolarization (AHP) amplitude, leading to an increase in probability of EPSP-action potential coupling. The M selective antagonist VU0255035 prevented, while the M selective positive allosteric modulator (PAM) VU0453595 potentiated the cholinergic activation-induced persistent increase in MSN intrinsic excitability, suggesting that M receptors are critically involved in the induction of this long-lasting response. This M receptor-dependent long-lasting change in MSN intrinsic excitability could have significant impact on striatal processing and might provide a novel mechanism underlying cholinergic regulation of the striatum-dependent motor learning and cognitive function. Consistent with this, behavioral studies indicate that potentiation of M receptor signaling by VU0453595 enhanced performance of mice in cue-dependent water-based T-maze, a dorsolateral striatum-dependent learning task.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Both historical clinical and recent preclinical data suggest that the M muscarinic acetylcholine receptor is an exciting target for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and the cognitive and negative symptom clusters in schizophrenia; however, early drug discovery efforts targeting the orthosteric binding site have failed to afford selective M activation. Efforts then shifted to focus on selective activation of M via either allosteric agonists or positive allosteric modulators (PAMs). While M PAMs have robust efficacy in rodent models, some chemotypes can induce cholinergic adverse effects (AEs) that could limit their clinical utility. Here, we report studies aimed at understanding the subtle structural and pharmacological nuances that differentiate efficacy from adverse effect liability within an indole-based series of M ago-PAMs. Our data demonstrate that closely related M PAMs can display striking differences in their in vivo activities, especially their propensities to induce adverse effects. We report the discovery of a novel PAM in this series that is devoid of observable adverse effect liability. Interestingly, the molecular pharmacology profile of this novel PAM is similar to that of a representative M PAM that induces severe AEs. For instance, both compounds are potent ago-PAMs that demonstrate significant interaction with the orthosteric site (either bitopic or negative cooperativity). However, there are subtle differences in efficacies of the compounds at potentiating M responses, agonist potencies, and abilities to induce receptor internalization. While these differences may contribute to the differential in vivo profiles of these compounds, the in vitro differences are relatively subtle and highlight the complexities of allosteric modulators and the need to focus on in vivo phenotypic screening to identify safe and effective M PAMs.
This Letter describes the chemical optimization of a novel series of M4 PAMs based on a non-enolizable ketone core, identified from an MLPCN functional high-throughput screen. The HTS hit was potent, selective and CNS penetrant; however, the compound was highly cleared in vitro and in vivo. SAR provided analogs for which M4 PAM potency and CNS exposure were maintained; yet, clearance remained high. Metabolite identification studies demonstrated that this series was subject to rapid, and near quantitative, reductive metabolism to the corresponding secondary alcohol metabolite that was devoid of M4 PAM activity.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This Letter describes the continued chemical optimization of the VU0453595 series of M1 positive allosteric modulators (PAMs). By surveying alternative 5,6- and 6,6-heterobicylic cores for the 6,7-dihydro-5H-pyrrolo[3,4-b]pyridine-5-one core of VU453595, we found new cores that engendered not only comparable or improved M1 PAM potency, but significantly improved CNS distribution (Kps 0.3-3.1). Moreover, this campaign provided fundamentally distinct M1 PAM chemotypes, greatly expanding the available structural diversity for this valuable CNS target, devoid of hydrogen-bond donors.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The smoke of crack cocaine contains cocaine and its pyrolysis product, anhydroecgonine methyl ester (AEME). AEME possesses greater neurotoxic potential than cocaine and an additive effect when they are combined. Since atropine prevented AEME-induced neurotoxicity, it has been suggested that its toxic effects may involve the muscarinic cholinergic receptors (mAChRs). Our aim is to understand the interaction between AEME and mAChRs and how it can lead to neuronal death. Using a rat primary hippocampal cell culture, AEME was shown to cause a concentration-dependent increase on both total [(3)H]inositol phosphate and intracellular calcium, and to induce DNA fragmentation after 24 hours of exposure, in line with the activation of caspase-3 previously shown. Additionally, we assessed AEME activity at rat mAChR subtypes 1-5 heterologously expressed in Chinese Hamster Ovary cells. l-[N-methyl-(3)H]scopolamine competition binding showed a preference of AEME for the M2 subtype; calcium mobilization tests revealed partial agonist effects at M1 and M3 and antagonist activity at the remaining subtypes. The selective M1 and M3 antagonists and the phospholipase C inhibitor, were able to prevent AEME-induced neurotoxicity, suggesting that the toxicity is due to the partial agonist effect at M1 and M3 mAChRs, leading to DNA fragmentation and neuronal death by apoptosis.
Both orthosteric and allosteric antagonists of the group II metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGlus) have been used to establish a link between mGlu2/3 inhibition and a variety of CNS diseases and disorders. Though these tools typically have good selectivity for mGlu2/3 versus the remaining six members of the mGlu family, compounds that are selective for only one of the individual group II mGlus have proved elusive. Herein we report on the discovery of a potent and highly selective mGlu2 negative allosteric modulator 58 (VU6001192) from a series of 4-oxo-1-aryl-1,4-dihydroquinoline-3-carboxamides. The concept for the design of this series centered on morphing a quinoline series recently disclosed in the patent literature into a chemotype previously used for the preparation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptor subtype 1 positive allosteric modulators. Compound 58 exhibits a favorable profile and will be a useful tool for understanding the biological implications of selective inhibition of mGlu2 in the CNS.
Stimulation of the cortical muscarinic M1 receptor (CHRM1) is proposed as a treatment for schizophrenia, a hypothesis testable using CHRM1 allosteric modulators. Allosteric modulators have been shown to change the activity of CHRMs using cloned human CHRMs and CHRM knockout mice but not human CNS, a prerequisite for them working in humans. Here we show in vitro that BQCA, a positive allosteric CHRM1 modulator, brings about the expected change in affinity of the CHRM1 orthosteric site for acetylcholine in human cortex. Moreover, this effect of BQCA is reduced in the cortex of a subset of subjects with schizophrenia, separated into a discrete population because of a profound loss of cortical [(3)H]pirenzepine binding. Surprisingly, there was no change in [(3)H]NMS binding to the cortex from this subset or those with schizophrenia but without a marked loss of cortical CHRM1. Hence, we explored the nature of [(3)H]pirenzepine and [(3)H]NMS binding to human cortex and showed total [(3)H]pirenzepine and [(3)H]NMS binding was reduced by Zn(2+), acetylcholine displacement of [(3)H]NMS binding was enhanced by Mg(2+) and Zn(2+), acetylcholine displacement of [(3)H]pirenzepine was reduced by Mg(2+) and enhanced by Zn(2+), whereas BQCA effects on [(3)H]NMS, but not [(3)H]pirenzepine, binding was enhanced by Mg(2+) and Zn(2+). These data suggest the orthosteric and allosteric sites on CHRMs respond differently to divalent cations and the effects of allosteric modulation of the cortical CHRM1 is reduced in a subset of people with schizophrenia, a finding that may have ramifications for the use of CHRM1 allosteric modulators in the treatment of schizophrenia.
The M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) subtype has been implicated in the underlying mechanisms of learning and memory and represents an important potential pharmacotherapeutic target for the cognitive impairments observed in neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Patients with schizophrenia show impairments in top-down processing involving conflict between sensory-driven and goal-oriented processes that can be modeled in preclinical studies using touchscreen-based cognition tasks. The present studies used a touchscreen visual pairwise discrimination task in which mice discriminated between a less salient and a more salient stimulus to assess the influence of the M1 mAChR on top-down processing. M1 mAChR knockout (M1 KO) mice showed a slower rate of learning, evidenced by slower increases in accuracy over 12 consecutive days, and required more days to acquire (achieve 80% accuracy) this discrimination task compared to wild-type mice. In addition, the M1 positive allosteric modulator BQCA enhanced the rate of learning this discrimination in wild-type, but not in M1 KO, mice when BQCA was administered daily prior to testing over 12 consecutive days. Importantly, in discriminations between stimuli of equal salience, M1 KO mice did not show impaired acquisition and BQCA did not affect the rate of learning or acquisition in wild-type mice. These studies are the first to demonstrate performance deficits in M1 KO mice using touchscreen cognitive assessments and enhanced rate of learning and acquisition in wild-type mice through M1 mAChR potentiation when the touchscreen discrimination task involves top-down processing. Taken together, these findings provide further support for M1 potentiation as a potential treatment for the cognitive symptoms associated with schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia patients exhibit deficits in signaling of the M1 subtype of muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and also display impaired cortical long-term depression (LTD). We report that selective activation of the M1 mAChR subtype induces LTD in PFC and that this response is completely lost after repeated administration of phencyclidine (PCP), a mouse model of schizophrenia. Furthermore, discovery of a novel, systemically active M1 positive allosteric modulator (PAM), VU0453595, allowed us to evaluate the impact of selective potentiation of M1 on induction of LTD and behavioral deficits in PCP-treated mice. Interestingly, VU0453595 fully restored impaired LTD as well as deficits in cognitive function and social interaction in these mice. These results provide critical new insights into synaptic changes that may contribute to behavioral deficits in this mouse model and support a role for selective M1 PAMs as a novel approach for the treatment of schizophrenia.
Results from a 2012 high-throughput screen of the NIH Molecular Libraries Small Molecule Repository (MLSMR) against the human muscarinic receptor subtype 1 (M1) for positive allosteric modulators is reported. A content-rich screen utilizing an intracellular calcium mobilization triple-addition protocol allowed for assessment of all three modes of pharmacology at M1, including agonist, positive allosteric modulator, and antagonist activities in a single screening platform. We disclose a dibenzyl-2H-pyrazolo[4,3-c]quinolin-3(5H)-one hit (DBPQ, CID 915409) and examine N-benzyl pharmacophore/SAR relationships versus previously reported quinolin-3(5H)-ones and isatins, including ML137. SAR and consideration of recently reported crystal structures, homology modeling, and structure-function relationships using point mutations suggests a shared binding mode orientation at the putative common allosteric binding site directed by the pendant N-benzyl substructure.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.