Positive allosteric modulation of α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors as a new approach to smoking reduction: evidence from a rat model of nicotine self-administration
ABSTRACT RATIONALE: The α4β2 subtype of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) plays a central role in the mediation of nicotine reinforcement. Positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) at α4β2 nAChRs facilitate the intrinsic efficiency of these receptors, although they do not directly activate the receptors. α4β2 PAMs are hypothesized to reduce nicotine self-administration in subjects engaged in routine nicotine consumption. The present study tested this hypothesis using a rat model of nicotine self-administration. METHODS: Male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained in daily 1-h sessions to intravenously self-administer nicotine (0.03 mg/kg per infusion, free base) on a fixed-ratio 5 schedule. The effects of the α4β2 PAM desformylflustrabromine (dFBr), α4β2 agonist 5-iodo-A-85380, and acetylcholinesterase inhibitor galantamine on nicotine intake were examined. The ability of dFBr and 5-iodo-A-85380 to substitute for nicotine was also assessed. RESULTS: dFBr and 5-iodo-A-85380 dose-dependently reduced nicotine self-administration without changing lever responses for food. Galantamine decreased the self-administration of nicotine and food at high doses. Unlike 5-iodo-A-85380, dFBr failed to substitute for nicotine in supporting self-administration behavior. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrated the effectiveness of dFBr in reducing nicotine intake and the inability of dFBr to support self-administration behavior. These findings suggest that positive allosteric modulation of α4β2 nAChRs may be a promising target for the treatment of nicotine addiction. Moreover, α4β2 PAMs, in contrast to agonist medications, may have clinical advantages because they may have little liability for abuse because of their lack of reinforcing actions on their own.
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ABSTRACT: Introduction: Current FDA-approved smoking cessation pharmacotherapies have limited efficacy and are associated with high rates of relapse. Therefore, there is a clear need to develop novel antismoking medications. Nicotine withdrawal is associated with cognitive impairments that predict smoking relapse. It has been proposed that these cognitive deficits are a hallmark of nicotine withdrawal that could be targeted in order to prevent smoking relapse. Thus, pharmacotherapies that increase cognitive performance during nicotine withdrawal may represent potential smoking cessation agents. Areas covered: The authors review the clinical literature demonstrating that nicotine withdrawal is associated with deficits in working memory, attention and response inhibition. They then briefly summarize different classes of compounds and strategies to increase cognitive performance during nicotine withdrawal. Particular emphasis has been placed on translational research in order to highlight areas for which there is strong rationale for pilot clinical trials of potential smoking cessation medications. Expert opinion: There is emerging evidence that supports deficits in cognitive function as a plausible nicotine withdrawal phenotype. The authors furthermore believe that the translational paradigms presented here may represent efficient and valid means for the evaluation of cognitive-enhancing medications as possible treatments for nicotine dependence.Expert Opinion on Drug Discovery 04/2014; 9(6). DOI:10.1517/17460441.2014.908180 · 3.47 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are ligand-gated ion channels broadly involved in regulating neurotransmission in the central nervous system (CNS) by conducting cation currents through the membrane of neurons. Many different nAChR subtypes exist each with their functional characteristics, expression pattern and pharmacological profile. The focus of the present MiniReview is on the heteromeric α4β2 nAChR, as activity at this subtype contributes to cognitive functioning through interactions with multiple neurotransmitter systems and is implicated in various CNS disorders, e.g. schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, the α4β2 nAChR provides an extra layer of molecular complexity by existing in two different stoichiometries determined by the subunit composition. Such findings have founded the rationale that pharmacological modulation of the α4β2 nAChR may be used as a treatment approach in various CNS disordersAs subtype-selective agonists and other cholinergic ligands have only shown limited therapeutic success, the focus of recent drug development endeavors has largely shifted to positive allosteric modulators (PAMs). By potentiating the action of an agonist through binding to an allosteric site, a PAM can enhance cholinergic neurotransmission, thus compensating for compromised neuronal communication in a pathophysiological setting. The pharmacological advantages of PAMs compared to other types of ligands include minimal interference with spatial and temporal aspects of neurotransmission as well as higher subtype selectivity, hypothetically resulting in high clinical efficacy with minimal adverse effectsIn this MiniReview, we describe the currently identified compounds, which potentiate the effects of agonists at the α4β2 nAChR. The potential clinical advantages and concerns of PAMs are discussed in light of the role of α4β2 nAChRs as key regulators of fast synaptic transmissionThis article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology 12/2014; 116(3). DOI:10.1111/bcpt.12361 · 2.29 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cigarette smoking is largely driven by the reinforcing properties of nicotine. Intravenous (IV) self-administration procedures are the gold standard for investigating the reinforcing effects of psychoactive drugs. The goal of this review was to examine the results of published investigations of the reinforcing effects of nicotine measured using IV self-administration procedures in humans and nonhuman primates. The body of literature using nonhuman primate subjects indicates nicotine functions as a positive reinforcer when available for self-administration via IV catheters. However, it can also be difficult to establish IV nicotine self-administration in nonhuman primates and sometimes supplemental strategies have been required (e.g., priming injections or food deprivation) before subjects acquire the behavior. Although the body of literature using human subjects is limited, the evidence indicates nicotine functions as a reinforcer via the IV route of administration in adult cigarette smokers. Rates of nicotine self-injection can be variable across subjects and responding is sometimes inconsistent across sessions in both humans and nonhuman primates. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, enacted in 2009, gave the Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority over the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products. Research examining the threshold reinforcing doses for initiation and maintenance of nicotine self-administration, comparisons of the reinforcing effects of nicotine in adolescent versus adult subjects, investigations of gender differences in the reinforcing effects of nicotine, and studies of the abuse liability of non-nicotine tobacco product constituents and their ability to alter the reinforcing effects of nicotine will inform potential tobacco regulatory actions. © Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco 2015. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.Nicotine & Tobacco Research 02/2015; DOI:10.1093/ntr/ntv002 · 2.81 Impact Factor