Development of subtype selective GABAA modulators.

Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories, Terlings Park, Eastwick Road, Essex CM20 1QR, England.
CNS spectrums (Impact Factor: 1.3). 02/2005; 10(1):21-7.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Drugs modulating gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transmission via the benzodiazepine (BZ) site on the gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptor have been in widespread use for more than 40 years to treat anxiety, epilepsy, and sleep disorders. These drugs have been shown to be safe, well tolerated, and effective although the mechanism by they produce a myriad of pharmacologic effects remains elusive. In recent years it has been discovered that, although the GABAA receptor is widely distributed in the brain, the substructure and composition of the receptor differs from between brain regions. Termed "GABAA receptor subtypes" their discovery leads to speculation that different subtypes may mediate specific effects of BZs such as anxiety or sedation. The phenotypic analysis of transgenic knock-in and knock-out mice in which particular GABAA receptors were rendered insensitive to the effects of BZ while others were unaffected confirmed this speculation. Subsequently, subtype-specific GABAA ligands were developed that, for example, retained the anxiolytic effects of BZs but were devoid of their sedative effects. Therefore, it may be possible to develop effective anxiolytic compounds that have a much reduced side-effect profile compared with existing drugs.

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    ABSTRACT: RATIONALE: Synthesis of ligands inactive or with low activity at α1 GABAA receptors has become the key concept for development of novel, more tolerable benzodiazepine (BZ)-like drugs. WYS8, a remarkably (105 times) α1-subtype selective partial positive modulator, may serve as a pharmacological tool for refining the role of α1 GABAA receptors in mediation of BZs' effects. OBJECTIVES: Here, the effects of WYS8 on GABA-induced currents and on diazepam-induced potentiation of recombinant BZ-sensitive GABAA receptors were studied in more detail. In addition, the behavioral profile of WYS8 (0.2, 1, and 10 mg/kg i.p.), on its own and in combination with diazepam, was tested in the spontaneous locomotor activity, elevated plus maze, grip strength, rotarod, and pentylenetetrazole tests. RESULTS: WYS8, applied at an in vivo attainable concentration of 100 nM, reduced the stimulation of GABA currents by 1 μM diazepam by 57 % at α1β3γ2, but not at α2β3γ2, α3β3γ2, or α5β3γ2 GABAA receptors. The administration of WYS8 alone induced negligible behavioral consequences. When combined with diazepam, WYS8 caused a reduction in sedation, muscle relaxation, and anticonvulsant activity, as compared with this BZ alone, whereas ataxia was preserved, and the anxiolytic effect of 2 mg/kg diazepam was unmasked. CONCLUSIONS: Hence, a partial instead of full activation at α1 GABAA receptors did not necessarily result in the attenuation of the effects assumed to be mediated by activation of these receptors, or in the full preservation of the effects mediated by activation of other GABAA receptors. Thus, the role of α1 GABAA receptors appears more complex than that proposed by genetic studies.
    Psychopharmacology 05/2013; 230(1). DOI:10.1007/s00213-013-3143-4 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: GABA(A) receptors containing α2/3 subunits are current targets in the battle to develop new pain medications, as they are expressed in the spinal cord where increasing inhibitory drive should result in analgesia. However, this approach is prone to a range of side effects including sedation, cognitive impairment, and abuse as a consequence of the widespread influence of GABA. The ability to make subtype selective low-efficacy benzodiazepine compounds, which potentiate the action of GABA at specific α subunits, has the potential to reduce this side effect profile. In this study, we have investigated the effects of the medium-efficacy positive allosteric modulator (PAM) L-838,417 and the low-efficacy PAM TPA023 in a number of preclinical inflammatory and neuropathic pain models. We conclude that either the higher level of efficacy at α2/3 or efficacy at α5 is required for compounds to have a significant analgesic effect in a range of models, and, therefore, although the side-effect profile of compounds can be reduced compared to typical benzodiazepines, it is unlikely that it can be completely eliminated.
    Advances in Pharmacological Sciences 11/2011; 2011:608912. DOI:10.1155/2011/608912
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    ABSTRACT: Abuse-liability-related effects of subtype-selective GABA(A) modulators were explored relative to the prototypic benzodiazepine lorazepam. 7-Cyclobutyl-6-(2-methyl-2H-1,2,4-triazol-3-ylmethoxy)-3-phenyl-1,2,4-triazolo[4,3-b]pyridazine (TPA123) has weak partial agonist efficacy at alpha(1)-, alpha(2)-, alpha(3)-, and alpha(5)-containing GABA(A) receptors, whereas 7-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-6-(2-ethyl-2H-1,2,4-triazol-3-ylmethoxy)-3-(2-fluorophenyl)-1,2,4-triazolo[4,3-b]pyridazine (TPA023) has weaker partial agonist efficacy at alpha(2) and alpha(3) and none at alpha(1) and alpha(5) subtypes. For both compounds, preclinical data suggested efficacy as nonsedating anxiolytics. Self-injection of TPA123 (0.0032-0.1 mg/kg) and TPA023 (0.0032-0.32 mg/kg) was compared with lorazepam (0.01-0.32 mg/kg) in baboons. TPA123 and lorazepam maintained self-injection higher than vehicle at two or more doses in each baboon; peak rate of self-injection of lorazepam was higher than TPA123. Self-injected lorazepam and TPA123 also increased rates of concurrently occurring food-maintained behavior. After the availability of self-administered TPA123 doses ended, an effect consistent with a mild benzodiazepine-like withdrawal syndrome occurred. In contrast with lorazepam and TPA123, TPA023 did not maintain self-administration. Positron emission tomography studies showed that TPA023 produced a dose-dependent inhibition in the binding of [(11)C]flumazenil to the benzodiazepine binding site in the baboon, which was essentially complete (i.e., 100% occupancy) at the highest TPA023 dose (0.32 mg/kg). In a physical dependence study, TPA023 (32 mg/kg/24 h) was delivered as a continuous intragastric drip. Neither flumazenil at 14 days nor stopping TPA023 after 30 to 31 days resulted in the marked withdrawal syndrome characteristic of benzodiazepines in baboons. In the context of other data, elimination of efficacy at the alpha(1) subtype of the GABA/benzodiazepine receptor is not sufficient to eliminate abuse liability but may do so when coupled with reduced alpha(2/3) subtype efficacy.
    Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 09/2009; 332(1):4-16. DOI:10.1124/jpet.109.158303 · 3.86 Impact Factor