Neuroprotective effects of high affinity sigma 1 receptor selective compounds.
ABSTRACT We previously reported that the antipsychotic drug haloperidol, a multifunctional D2-like dopamine and sigma receptor subtype antagonist, has neuroprotective properties. In this study we further examined the association between neuroprotection and receptor antagonism by evaluating a panel of novel compounds with varying affinity at sigma and D2-like dopamine receptors. These compounds were evaluated using an in vitro cytotoxicity assay that utilizes a hippocampal-derived cell line, HT-22, in the presence or absence of varying concentrations (5 to 20 mM) of glutamate. While haloperidol was found to be a potent neuroprotective agent in this in vitro cell assay, the prototypic sigma 1 receptor agonist (+)-pentazocine was found not to be neuroprotective. Subsequently, the potency for the neuroprotection of HT-22 cells was evaluated for a) three SV series indoles which have nMolar affinity at D2-like receptors but varying affinity at sigma 1 receptor and b) two benzyl phenylacetamides sigma 1 receptor selective compounds which bind with low affinity at D2-like receptors but have nMolar affinity for the sigma 1 receptor. We observed that cytoprotection correlated with the affinity of the compounds for sigma 1 receptors. Based upon results from the HT-22 cell-based in vitro assay, two phenylacetamides, LS-127 and LS-137, were further evaluated in vivo using a transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (t-MCAO) model of stroke. At a dose of 100 μg/kg, both LS-127 and LS-137 attenuated infarct volume by approximately 50%. These studies provide further evidence that sigma 1 receptor selective compounds can provide neuroprotection in cytotoxic situations. These results also demonstrate that sigma 1 receptor selective benzyl phenylacetamides are candidate pharmacotherapeutic agents that could be used to minimize neuronal death after a stroke or head trauma.