[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cotinine, the most predominant metabolite of nicotine in mammalian species, has a pharmacological half-life that greatly exceeds its precursor. However, until recently, relatively few studies had been conducted to systematically characterize the behavioral pharmacology of cotinine. Our previous work indicated that cotinine improves prepulse inhibition of the auditory startle response in rats in pharmacological impairment models and that it improves working memory in non-human primates. Here we tested the hypothesis that cotinine improves sustained attention in rats and attenuates behavioral alterations induced by the glutamate (NMDA) antagonist MK-801. The effects of acute subcutaneous (dose range 0.03-10.0 mg/kg) and chronic oral administration (2.0 mg/kg/day in drinking water) of cotinine were evaluated in fixed and variable stimulus duration (VSD) as well as variable intertrial interval (VITI) versions of a five choice serial reaction time task (5C-SRTT). The results indicated only subtle effects of acute cotinine (administered alone) on performance of the 5C-SRTT (e.g., decreases in timeout responses). However, depending on dose, acute treatment with cotinine attenuated MK-801-related impairments in accuracy and elevations in timeout responses, and it increased the number of completed trials. Moreover, chronic cotinine attenuated MK-801-related impairments in accuracy and it reduced premature and timeout responses when the demands of the task were increased (i.e., by presenting VSDs or VITIs in addition to administering MK-801). These data suggest that cotinine may represent a prototype for compounds that have therapeutic potential for neuropsychiatric disorders (i.e., by improving sustained attention and decreasing impulsive and compulsive behaviors), especially those characterized by glutamate receptor alterations.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that gradually destroys a person's memory. Substantial evidence suggests that amyloid beta (Aβ) and the receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE) play an important and often deleterious role in the pathogenesis of AD. RAGE facilitates the translocation of Aβ from the periphery into the brain, mediates the Aβ-induced neurotoxicity, and enhances the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines increasing the inflammatory response. In addition, soluble forms of RAGE (sRAGE) and Aβ bind together in the periphery forming high molecular weight complexes that are more highly immunogenic and less neurotoxic than Aβ1-42 alone. We show here that there are elevated anti-RAGE and anti-Aβ titers (in a near 1:1 relationship) in samples analyzed from human AD patients, aged non-human primates, and AD transgenic mice (APPSWE-PS1). We show that an in vitro prepared RAGE/Aβ complex induces a greater immunogenic response (increased anti-Aβ1-42 and anti-RAGE antibody titers) in both human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and immunized Balb-C mice than does either Aβ1-42 or RAGE alone. Further, pretreatment with endogenous anti-RAGE antibodies isolated from our transgenic APPSWE-PS1 mice can prevent Aβ1-42-induced neurotoxicity in cultured primary rat cortical neurons. Finally, we examine the effectiveness of an orally administered vaccine of either RAGE/Aβ complex or Aβ1-42 alone in improving cognitive function in our AD transgenic mice. Our results to date support the hypothesis that a protein complex vaccine that targets both RAGE and Aβ1-42 will provide a more effective treatment for AD than vaccination with Aβ1-42 alone.
Neuromolecular medicine 03/2012; 14(2):119-30. · 5.00 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prefrontal cortex, a cortical area essential for working memory and higher cognitive functions, is modulated by a number of neurotransmitter systems, including acetylcholine; however, the impact of cholinergic transmission on prefrontal activity is not well understood. We relied on systemic administration of a muscarinic receptor antagonist, scopolamine, to investigate the role of acetylcholine on primate prefrontal neuronal activity during execution of working memory tasks and recorded neuronal activity with chronic electrode arrays and single electrodes. Our results indicated a dose-dependent decrease in behavioral performance after scopolamine administration in all the working memory tasks we tested. The effect could not be accounted for by deficits in visual processing, eye movement responses, or attention, because the animals performed a visually guided saccade task virtually error free, and errors to distracting stimuli were not increased. Performance degradation under scopolamine was accompanied by decreased firing rate of the same cortical sites during the delay period of the task and decreased selectivity for the spatial location of the stimuli. These results demonstrate that muscarinic blockade impairs performance in working memory tasks and prefrontal activity mediating working memory.
Journal of Neurophysiology 07/2011; 106(5):2180-8. · 3.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, the use-dependent, nicotinic receptor antagonist bis (2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-4-piperidinyl) sebacate (BTMPS) was evaluated for its ability to attenuate the adverse consequences associated with morphine in rats in all three phases of an abstinence model of drug seeking: self-administration, acute withdrawal, and delayed test of drug seeking. Rats were allowed to self-administer morphine (FR1 schedule) with an active response lever, on a 24 h basis inside operant chambers, for 14 days. Each rat was subsequently evaluated for stereotypical behaviors associated with spontaneous morphine withdrawal. Rats were then placed in standard housing cages for a six week period of protracted abstinence from morphine. After this period, each rat was placed back into its respective operant chamber for a 14 day assessment of unrewarded drug seeking responses. BTMPS was administered to the animals in all three clinically relevant phases in three separate sets of experiments. BTMPS treatment during the self-administration phase resulted in up to a 34% reduction of lever responses to morphine when compared to vehicle treated control animals, as well as a 32% reduction in the dose of morphine self-administered. When given during self-administration and acute withdrawal, BTMPS treatment decreased acute withdrawal symptoms (up to 64%) of morphine use and reduced (up to 45%) drug seeking responses after six weeks of protracted withdrawal compared to control animals. BTMPS treatment after six weeks of abstinence from morphine had no effect. These results offer insight into the role of central cholinergic receptors in the onset and maintenance of drug addiction.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dimebolin (latrepirdine), a compound with multiple potential drug targets, is being evaluated in clinical trials for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and preliminary results suggest it can slow the disease process. There is also evidence that dimebolin directly improves aspects of cognition. Here we examined the acute effect of dimebolin on components of working memory in non-human primates, young adult (11-17 years old) and aged (20-31 years old) rhesus macaques.
The effects of dimebolin (3.9-118 µg kg(-1)) on working memory, as measured by performance on delayed matching-to-sample (DMTS), were examined in the normal young adult monkeys and aged adult monkeys. All the monkeys studied were proficient in the performance of a computer-assisted DMTS task. In a subsequent experiment in the same subjects, dimebolin was administered 15 min before a cognitively-impairing dose (20 µg kg(-1)) of scopolamine.
In both the young adult and aged monkeys, dimebolin significantly increased the DMTS task accuracies. In young adults, the task improvement was associated with long (retention/retrieval) delay trials, and a protracted enhancement was observed for sessions run 24 h post administration of a single dose. Dimebolin did not significantly attenuate the scopolamine-induced impairment. In the aged monkeys, dimebolin significantly improved the reduced task accuracies associated with long delay intervals.
Here we demonstrated that dimebolin is able to improve components of working memory in monkeys and to induce a protracted response for at least 24 h after administration of a single dose.
British Journal of Pharmacology 04/2011; 164(3):970-8. · 5.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study was designed to evaluate further a prototypical ranitidine analog, JWS-USC-75-IX, [(3-[[[2-[[(5-dimethylaminomethyl)-2-furanyl]methyl]thio]ethyl]amino]-4-nitropyridazine, JWS], for neuropharmacologic properties that would theoretically be useful for treating cognitive and noncognitive behavioral symptoms of neuropsychiatric disorders. JWS was previously found to inhibit acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity, serve as a potent ligand at muscarinic M₂ acetylcholine receptors, and elicit positive effects on spatial learning, passive avoidance, and working memory in rodents. In the current study, JWS was evaluated for binding activity at more than 60 neurotransmitter receptors, transporters, and ion channels, as well as for inhibitory activity at AChE and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE). The results indicate that JWS inhibits AChE and BChE at low (micromolar) concentrations and that it is a functional antagonist at M₂ receptors (K(B) = 320 nM). JWS was subsequently evaluated orally across additional behavioral assays in rodents (dose range, 0.03-10.0 mg/kg) as well as nonhuman primates (dose range, 0.05-2.0 mg/kg). In rats, JWS improved prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle response in nonimpaired rats and attenuated PPI deficits in three pharmacologic impairment models. JWS also attenuated scopolamine and (-)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo[a,d]cyclohepten-5,10-imine maleate (MK-801)-related impairments in a spontaneous novel object recognition task and a five-choice serial reaction time task, respectively. In monkeys, JWS elicited dose-dependent improvements of a delayed match-to-sample task as well as an attention-related version of the task where randomly presented (task-relevant) distractors were presented. Thus, JWS (potentially via effects at several drug targets) improves information processing, attention, and memory in animal models and could potentially treat the cognitive and behavioral symptoms of some neuropsychiatric illnesses.
Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 03/2011; 336(3):751-66. · 3.89 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Organophosphates (OPs) pose a constant threat to human health due to their widespread use as pesticides and their potential employment in military and terrorist attacks. The acute toxicity of OPs has been extensively studied; however, the consequences of prolonged or repeated exposure to levels of OPs that produce no overt signs of acute toxicity (i.e. subthreshold levels) are poorly understood. Further, there is clinical evidence that such repeated exposures to OPs lead to prolonged deficits in cognition, although the mechanism for this effect is unknown. In this study, the behavioral and neurochemical effects of repeated, intermittent, and subthreshold exposures to the alkyl OP, diisopropylfluorophosphate (DFP) were investigated. Rats were injected with DFP s.c. (dose range, 0.25-1.0 mg/kg) every other day over the course of 30 days, and then given a 2 week, DFP-free washout period. In behavioral experiments conducted at various times during the washout period, dose dependent decrements in a water maze hidden platform task and a spontaneous novel object recognition (NOR) procedure were observed, while prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle response was unaffected. There were modest decreases in open field locomotor activity and grip strength (particularly during the DFP exposure period); however, rotarod performance and water maze swim speeds were not affected. After washout, DFP concentrations were minimal in plasma and brain, however, cholinesterase inhibition was still detectable in the brain. Moreover, the 1.0 mg/kg dose of DFP was associated with (brain region-dependent) alterations in nerve growth factor-related proteins and cholinergic markers. The results of this prospective animal study thus provide evidence to support two novel hypotheses: (1) that intermittent, subthreshold exposures to alkyl OPs can lead to protracted deficits in specific domains of cognition and (2) that such cognitive deficits may be related to persistent functional changes in brain neurotrophin and cholinergic pathways.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously reported that alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agonism produces efficacy in preclinical cognition models correlating with activation of cognitive and neuroprotective signaling pathways associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology. In the present studies, the selective and potent alpha7 nAChR agonist 5-(6-[(3R)-1-azabicyclo[2.2.2]oct-3-yloxy] pyridazin-3-yl)-1H-indole (ABT-107) was evaluated in behavioral assays representing distinct cognitive domains. Studies were also conducted to address potential issues that may be associated with the clinical development of an alpha7 nAChR agonist. Specifically, ABT-107 improved cognition in monkey delayed matching to sample, rat social recognition, and mouse two-trial inhibitory avoidance, and continued to improve cognitive performance at injection times when exposure levels continued to decline. Rats concurrently infused with ABT-107 and donepezil at steady-state levels consistent with clinical exposure showed improved short-term recognition memory. Compared with nicotine, ABT-107 did not produce behavioral sensitization in rats or exhibit psychomotor stimulant activity in mice. Repeated (3 days) daily dosing of ABT-107 increased extracellular cortical acetylcholine in rats, whereas acute administration increased cortical extracellular signal-regulated kinase and cAMP response element-binding protein phosphorylation in mice, neurochemical and biochemical events germane to cognitive function. ABT-107 increased cortical phosphorylation of the inhibitory residue (Ser9) of glycogen synthase kinase-3, a primary tau kinase associated with AD pathology. In addition, continuous infusion of ABT-107 in tau/amyloid precursor protein transgenic AD mice reduced spinal tau hyperphosphorylation. These findings show that targeting alpha7 nAChRs may have potential utility for symptomatic alleviation and slowing of disease progression in the treatment AD, and expand the understanding of the potential therapeutic viability associated with the alpha7 nAChR approach in the treatment of AD.
Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 09/2010; 334(3):875-86. · 3.89 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although dopamine D(3) receptor antagonists have been shown to enhance frontocortical cholinergic transmission and improve cognitive performance in rodents, data are limited and their effects have never been examined in primates. Accordingly, we characterized the actions of the D(3) receptor antagonist, S33138, in rats and rhesus monkeys using a suite of procedures in which cognitive performance was disrupted by several contrasting manipulations. S33138 dose-dependently (0.01-0.63 mg/kg s.c.) blocked a delay-induced impairment of novel object recognition in rats, a model of visual learning and memory. Further, S33138 (0.16-2.5 mg/kg s.c.) similarly reduced a delay-induced deficit in social novelty discrimination in rats, a procedure principally based on olfactory cues. Adult rhesus monkeys were trained to perform cognitive procedures, then chronically exposed to low doses of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine which produced cognitive impairment without motor disruption. In an attentional set-shifting task of cognitive flexibility involving an extra-dimensional shift, deficits were reversed by S33138 (0.04 and 0.16 mg/kg p.o.). S33138 also significantly improved accuracy (0.04 and 0.16 mg/kg p.o.) at short (but not long) delays in a variable delayed-response task of attention and working memory. Finally, in a separate set of experiments performed in monkeys displaying age-related deficits, S33138 significantly (0.16 and 0.63 mg/kg p.o.) improved task accuracies for long delay intervals in a delayed matching-to-sample task of working memory. In conclusion, S33138 improved performance in several rat and primate procedures of cognitive impairment. These data underpin interest in D(3) receptor blockade as a strategy for improving cognitive performance in CNS disorders like schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease.
The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 09/2010; 13(8):1035-51. · 5.64 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The immunoglobulins (IgGs) for beta amyloid (Abeta) and receptors for the advanced glycation end products (RAGE) have previously been shown to be related to memory and language measures in a mixed neurological sample of older adults. In this study, we examined group differences in Abeta and RAGE IgGs, as well as the relationship between both IgGs and cognitive performance in nondiabetic older adults with normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and probable Alzheimer's disease (AD). We found RAGE and Abeta levels to be elevated in some AD participants, leading to significant AD-control group differences. While there was an overall correlation between both IgG levels and global cognition across all three groups, this relationship was largely attributable to group differences in cognition, highlighted by considerable variability within groups in the relationship between IgG levels and cognition. While findings do not support a consistent relationship between cognition and either IgG, further research with larger samples is needed to better characterize cognitive differences between AD participants with high versus low Abeta and RAGE titers.
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 07/2010; 16(4):672-8. · 2.70 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This review summarizes the scientific talks presented at the conference "Therapeutics for Cognitive Aging," hosted by the New York Academy of Sciences and the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation on May 15, 2009. Attended by scientists from industry and academia, as well as by a number of lay people-approximately 200 in all-the conference specifically tackled the many aspects of developing therapeutic interventions for cognitive impairment. Discussion also focused on how to define cognitive aging and whether it should be considered a treatable, tractable disease.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 04/2010; 1191 Suppl 1:E1-15. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current clinical treatments for neuropathic pain include amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant with mixed pharmacology that is also clinically reported to impair cognitive performance; and gabapentin, a compound that selectively interacts with alpha2delta-1 calcium channel subunits. Since few assessments of cognitive performance have been made in non-human primates with these marketed treatments, the purpose of this study was to determine their relative abilities to alter working memory as measured in mature macaques in their performance of a delayed matching-to-sample task. Four delay intervals of increasing duration provided increasing impairment in task accuracies during vehicle sessions. Administration of clinically relevant doses of amitriptyline significantly decreased task accuracy at the highest dose tested (3mg/kg). Administration of gabapentin increased mean task accuracy, though the effect was not statistically significant until intra-subject variability was reduced by selecting the individual best dose for each animal (which averaged 12.8mg/kg). Most of the effect was obtained during the presentation of long delay trials (18.2% above vehicle). Task improvement was sustained during sessions run 24h after gabapentin administration. In a series that used a task-relevant distractor to determine gabapentin's effect on attention, drug treatment reversed distractor-impaired accuracy during long delay trials (25.4% above vehicle). The selective improvement in long delay accuracy in both paradigms suggests improvement in encoding or retention components of working memory. It is currently unclear whether the ability of acute administration of gabapentin to modestly improve working memory occurs by a mechanism that could be related to its anti-allodynic mechanism of action.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Withdrawal from cocaine use often is associated with anxiety and depressive states. In this study the use-dependent, nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist bis-(2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-4-piperidinyl) sebacate (BTMPS) was studied for its ability to reduce these symptoms in two rat models of anxiety and depression. Rats were administered saline vehicle, or two escalating doses of cocaine, for a period of 5 days and they were evaluated during the period after cocaine discontinuation in the elevated plus maze (anxiety) and the forced swim test (affect). BTMPS (0.25, 0.5, or 0.75mg/kg) was co-administered with saline or cocaine in the dependence phase. Withdrawal from cocaine administration alone resulted in reductions in both the time spent in the open arms of the elevated plus maze test, as well as entries into, and out of, the open arms of the maze. Withdrawal from cocaine also resulted in a reduction of escape behaviors, and the time to first immobility, in the forced swim test. Treatment with BTMPS produced a reversal of cocaine-induced anxiety-like behaviors in the elevated plus maze, including an increase (up to 68%) in time spent in the open arms of the maze and an increase in the number of crossings between open and enclosed arms. BTMPS also reduced depressive-like behaviors associated with the forced swim test, including up to a 62% increase in the time to first immobility and a 50% increase in escape behavior. These results provide proof of concept for the development and use of cholinergic compounds in the treatment of substance abuse.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Organophosphates such as chlorpyrifos (CPF) are among the most commonly used pesticides in the world. Therefore, it is not surprising that measurable levels of organophosphates (including CPF) are found in over 50% of fresh fruits, vegetables and grains that we consume and that approximately 80% of adults in the US have detectable levels of CPF metabolites in their urine. It is well known that acute exposure to organophosphates can cause cognitive deficits; however, the effects of daily or intermittent contact with low levels of organophosphates (often reflective of environmental exposures) are not well understood. The objective of this study was to determine if repeated low-level exposures to CPF impaired the performance of the 5-Choice Serial Reaction Time Task (5C-SRTT), an animal model of sustained attention. Adult rats were trained to stably perform the 5C-SRTT, then treated with vehicle or CPF 18.0 mg/kg daily for 14 consecutive days or every other day for 30 days. Behavioral testing occurred daily during the CPF-exposure period and throughout a 30 day washout period to assess recovery. All CPF-treated animals exhibited deficits in percent correct, an increase in omissions and premature responses without signs of impaired motivation or overt toxicity. Deficits in 5C-SRTT accuracy were apparent well into the 30 day washout period despite significant recovery of cholinesterase activity. These results indicate that repeated exposures to relatively low levels of chlorpyrifos lead to protracted impairments of sustained attention and an increase in impulsive behaviors in rats.
Neurotoxicology and Teratology 03/2010; 32(4):415-24. · 3.18 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use-dependent, nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist bis-(2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-4-piperidinyl) sebacate (BTMPS) was studied for its potential to reduce the self-administration of nicotine in rats, as well as to reduce context-induced recidivistic-like behavior after a six-week period of cessation. Rats were allowed to self-administer nicotine (FR1 schedule) inside an operant chamber with a response lever active on a 24 h basis for 14 days. After the self-administration phase, the rats were returned to standard maintenance cages for a period of six weeks. At the end of six weeks the rats were returned to the operant chambers for 7 days and lever responses were recorded under conditions identical to the original self-administration phase, except that lever responses were not rewarded. Daily administration (s.c.) of BTMPS produced a dose-dependent decrease in the self-administration of nicotine 55–80% compared to control animals, and significantly decreased context-induced lever responding initiated six weeks after cessation (35–78% reduction vs. controls). Decreasing the BTMPS regimen to administration once every 3 days was not effective in reducing nicotine self-administration, but lever responding induced during the return to the operant chambers 6 weeks later was significantly decreased (40% reduction vs. controls). Therefore BTMPS can selectively reduce both self-administration of nicotine and long-term recidivistic-like behavior depending upon the dose regimen. Since BTMPS does not evoke anti-nicotinic effects under normal physiological conditions, these data support a proof of concept for the safe use of such compounds in the treatment of tobacco abuse.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The accumulation of Aβ (amyloid β-protein) is one of the major pathological hallmarks in AD (Alzheimer's disease). Gangliosides, sialic acid-containing glycosphingolipids enriched in the nervous system and frequently used as biomarkers associated with the biochemical pathology of neurological disorders, have been suggested to be involved in the initial aggregation of Aβ. In the present study, we have examined ganglioside metabolism in the brain of a double-Tg (transgenic) mouse model of AD that co-expresses mouse/human chimaeric APP (amyloid precursor protein) with the Swedish mutation and human presenilin-1 with a deletion of exon 9. Although accumulation of Aβ was confirmed in the double-Tg mouse brains and sera, no statistically significant change was detected in the concentration and composition of major ganglio-N-tetraosyl-series gangliosides in the double-Tg brain. Most interestingly, Chol-1α antigens (cholinergic neuron-specific gangliosides), such as GT1aα and GQ1bα, which are minor species in the brain, were found to be increased in the double-Tg mouse brain. We interpret that the occurrence of these gangliosides may represent evidence for generation of cholinergic neurons in the AD brain, as a result of compensatory neurogenesis activated by the presence of Aβ.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Advances in health sciences during the last century have increased the average age in industrialized nations. Despite this progress, neurodegenerative diseases that affect higher order thinking and memory continue to increase in prevalence as they take a devastating toll on human productivity in the later years. There is an acute need for new drugs and therapeutic approaches for treating these severe diseases, and also for improving the quality of cognitive function associated with normal aging and in many other disorders and syndromes that present with cognitive dysfunction.
The purpose of this review is to ascertain the pharmacological approaches being exploited to improve cognition and memory and to determine the most relevant and effective directions taken for new drug discovery. Limitations and difficulties encountered in this effort also are discussed.
This review focuses primarily on compounds already undergoing clinical trials for improving cognition and memory with some discussion of rising new drug targets.
Compounds that act on allosteric sites on neurotransmitter receptors are expected to lead the field with new levels of specificity and reduced side effects. New multi-functional compounds can be designed that can both improve cognition and slow the process of disease.