The place of partial agonism in psychiatry: recent developments.
ABSTRACT Drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders, although effective, are often restricted by adverse events. The use of partial agonists for treating hypertension was found to limit some of the side-effects in some patients. This led to the investigation of partial agonists as a treatment modality in psychiatric disorders. Partial agonists have a lower intrinsic efficacy than full agonists leading to reduced maximum response. They can act as antagonists by competing for receptor binding with full agonists. The level of activity depends on the level of endogenous receptor activity. Buprenorphine, a partial agonist at the mu-opioid receptor, is used to treat patients with addiction and decreases the symptoms of withdrawal and risks of overdose and intoxication. The anxiolytic buspirone shows partial agonism at 5-HT(1A) receptors, and this seems to provide anxioselective effects, without inducing extrapyramidal side-effects, convulsions, tolerance or withdrawal reactions. In schizophrenia, partial dopamine agonism results in antagonistic effects at sites activated by high concentrations of dopamine and agonistic effects at sites activated by low concentrations of dopamine. This stabilizes the dopamine system to effect antipsychotic action without inducing adverse motor or hormonal events. Aripiprazole is the first 'dopamine system stabilizer', and the data are promising, with efficacy at least equivalent to that with current atypical antipsychotics but fewer of the troublesome side-effects. Partial agonists seem to provide a way to fine-tune the treatment of psychiatric disorders by maximizing the treatment effect while minimizing undesirable adverse events.
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Pilocarpine-induced seizures can cause pathological changes in many brain regions as a result of excessive production of free radicals. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate the antioxidant effect of buspirone in the epilepsy model induced by pilocarpine. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Forty-eight animals were divided into four groups. The first group was treated with saline 0.9% (control); the second group received pilocarpine 400 mg/kg (P400); the third group was treated with buspirone 5 mg/kg (BUSP) for 14 consecutive days and animals in the fourth group were treated with buspirone for 14 consecutive days, and 30 minutes after the last buspirone administration were administered with P400 (BUSP + P400). RESULTS: No toxicity signs or death were observed in buspirone-treated animals. P400 group showed a significant increase in nitrite production and lipid peroxidation after seizures. Moreover, reduction in both the lipid peroxidation level (65%) and nitrite content (85%) as well as an increase in superoxide dismutase activity was detected following P400 injection in the hippocampus of buspirone-pretreated mice. DISCUSSION: Pretreatment with BUSP increased latency to first seizure, decreased the mortality rate and number of animals that presented seizures and progression to status epilepticus, showing potent anticonvulsant effects associated with reduction of hippocampal oxidative stress.Revista de Psiquiatria Clínica 12/2011; 39(5):153-156. · 0.89 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that intra-accumbens infusion of isoproterenol (ISO), a beta-adrenoceptor-agonist, and phenylephrine (PE), an alpha-adrenoceptor-agonist, increase the release of accumbal dopamine (DA). In the present study we analyzed whether the ISO-induced release of DA is sensitive to pretreatment with the DA synthesis inhibitor alpha-methyl-para-tyrosine (AMPT). Earlier studies have shown that the PE-induced release of DA is derived from DA pools that are resistant to AMPT. In addition to PE, the alpha-adrenoceptor-antagonist phentolamine (PA) was also found to increase accumbal DA release. Therefore, we investigated whether similar to the DA-increasing effect of PE, the DA increase induced by PA is resistant to AMPT. Pretreatment with AMPT prevented the ISO-induced increase of accumbal DA. The accumbal DA increase after PA was not reduced by the DA synthesis inhibitor, independently of the amount of DA released. These results show that mesolimbic beta-, but not alpha-adrenoceptors, control the release of accumbal newly-synthesized DA pools. The DA-increasing effects of PE have previously been ascribed to stimulation of presynaptic receptors located on noradrenergic terminals, whereas the DA-increasing effects of PA and ISO have been ascribed to an action of these drugs at postsynaptic receptors on dopaminergic terminals. The fact that AMPT did not affect the accumbal DA response to PE and PA, whereas it did prevent the accumbal DA increase to ISO, supports our previously reported hypothesis that the noradrenergic neurons of the nucleus accumbens containing presynaptic alpha-adrenoceptors impinge upon the dopaminergic terminals in the nucleus accumbens containing postsynaptic adrenoceptors of the alpha but not of the beta type. The putative therapeutic effects of noradrenergic agents in the treatment of DA-related disorders are shortly discussed.Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 07/2014; 8(243). · 4.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background: Blockade of the dopamine D2 receptor is a key mechanism in the antipsychotic treatment of patients with a psychotic disorder, but may also induce emotional deficits. The partial D2 agonistic profile of aripiprazole has, therefore, been suggested to favor emotional wellbeing compared with the pure dopamine antagonistic properties of traditional antipsychotics. Method: The current study used the experience sampling method (a structured diary technique) to assess the effects of switching from treatment with traditional dopamine antagonist antipsychotics to treatment with the partial dopamine agonist aripiprazole on emotional wellbeing in the daily life of 13 patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Results: More than half of all patients experienced exacerbation of psychotic symptoms after they had switched to the aripiprazole medication regime, consequently resulting in dropout of the study. Furthermore, switching to aripiprazole treatment, when effective in terms of symptom reduction, was accompanied by decreased feelings of both positive and negative affect in daily life, suggestive of a general state of emotional dampening. Conclusions: Although the scale of the current study and the 54% dropout rate call for careful interpretation of the data, implementation of ecological monitoring in psychopharmacological research may open up new avenues for untangling the working mechanisms of compounds with regard to their impact on mental states.Therapeutic advances in psychopharmacology. 10/2011; 1(5):145-51.