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Browsing by Subject "NMDA receptor blocker"

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  • Annala, Iina (2021)
    Subanesthetic-dose ketamine, an N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) blocker, exerts rapid antidepressant effects that sustain long after its elimination from the body. The precise mechanism remains unknown, but regulation of TrkB (tropomyosin receptor kinase B), ERK (extracellular-regulated kinase 1 and 2), GSK3β (glycogen synthase kinase 3β) and mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) signaling within the prefrontal cortex (PFC) have been deemed important for its antidepressant-like effects in rodents. In addition, activation of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptors (AMPARs) is thought to be an important step in its mechanism. Nitrous oxide (N2O), another NMDAR antagonist and a putative rapid-acting antidepressant, regulates the same molecular pathways as ketamine in the rodent PFC. The fast pharmacokinetics of N2O have been exploited to show that markers of neuronal excitation, including phosphorylation of ERK, are upregulated in the PFC during its acute pharmacological effects (NMDAR blockade), while regulation of TrkB, GSK3β and P70S6K emerges only upon N2O withdrawal. In the first part of this study, we investigated the N2O-induced biochemical changes associated with neuronal excitation and BDNF-TrkB signaling in the PFC and further, the requirement for AMPAR activation in inducing them. We focused on the effects seen after the acute pharmacological effects of N2O. N2O (65% for 20 min) was administered to adult male C57BL/6 mice with or without pretreatment with AMPAR antagonist (NBQX, 10 mg/kg) and PFC samples were collected 15 minutes after stopping N2O delivery. Within this time N2O is expected to be completely eliminated. The brain samples were analyzed using western blot, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and quantitative reverse transcription PCR. We observed that N2O increased levels of phosphorylated TrkB, GSK3β and P70S6K, and these effects were not attenuated by NBQX pretreatment. At the same time, we observed a decrease in the levels of phosphorylated ERK, which was attenuated in mice that received NBQX prior to N2O. Tissue levels of BDNF protein or messenger RNA (exon IV) were not different between control and experimental groups. These results indicate that the mechanism of N2O is associated with TrkB and ERK signaling that are regulated independently of each other. It appears that AMPAR activation is not required for TrkB signaling, although it might play a role in ERK signaling. Further, N2O-induced TrkB phosphorylation in the PFC is not associated with changes in total levels of BDNF. In the second part of the study, we aimed to search for new ketamine-like NMDAR blockers with antidepressant potential. Ketamine was used as a query compound for in silico substructure search to find commercial ketamine analogs. The retrieved ketamine analogs were filtered by their computed ADMET properties and then further screened virtually by docking them to the pore region of NMDAR complex (protein data bank code: 4TLM), around the predicted binding site of ketamine. Finally, we sought to study if selected ketamine analogs could elicit ketamine-like effects on TrkB and ERK signaling in mouse primary cortical neurons. However, we did not proceed to test the analogs since ketamine (positive control) did not show any effects on TrkB or ERK phosphorylation in our culture. Overall, this study advances the understanding of the mechanism of N2O, possibly giving new insight of the antidepressant mechanisms of NMDAR-blocking agents more generally. Additionally, we found promising ketamine analogs that await experimental testing.