Lee E Schechter

Pfizer Inc., New York City, NY, United States

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Publications (83)303.15 Total impact

  • Jaime M Monti, Héctor Jantos, Lee E Schechter
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    ABSTRACT: The effects of WAY-208466, a selective 5-HT6 receptor agonist on spontaneous sleep were studied in adult rats implanted for chronic sleep recordings. Systemic administration of WAY-208466 during the light phase of the light-dark cycle significantly increased wakefulness (W) and reduced slow wave sleep (SWS), REM sleep (REMS) and the number of REMS periods. Pretreatment with the selective 5-HT6 receptor antagonist RO-399885 prevented the effects of the 5-HT6 receptor agonist on W, SWS and REMS. Direct infusion of WAY-208466 into the dorsal raphe nucleus, locus coeruleus, basal forebrain (horizontal limb of the diagonal band of Broca) or laterodorsal tegmental nucleus specifically decreased REMS without significantly altering W or SWS. In all instances the REMS suppression was dependent upon the reduction of REMS periods. The finding that WAY-208466 increases extracellular γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in the rat frontal cortex tends to suggest that the neurotransmitter could be involved in the 5-HT6 receptor agonist-induced disruption of the sleep-wake cycle. However, further studies are needed to resolve this issue.
    Behavioural brain research 04/2013; · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence suggests that 30-50% of patients suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD) are classified as suffering from treatment resistant depression (TRD) as they have an inadequate response to standard antidepressants. A key feature of this patient population is the increased incidence of co-morbid symptoms like anxiety and pain. Recognizing that current standards of care are largely focused on monoaminergic mechanisms of action (MOAs), innovative approaches to drug discovery for TRD are targeting glutamate hyperfunction. Here we describe the in vitro and in vivo profile of GRN-529, a novel negative allosteric modulator (NAM) of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5). In cell based pharmacology assays, GRN-529 is a high affinity (Ki 5.4 nM), potent (IC50 3.1 nM) and selective (>1000-fold selective vs mGluR1) mGluR5 NAM. Acute administration of GRN-529 (0.1-30 mg/kg p.o.) had dose-dependent efficacy across a therapeutically relevant battery of animal models, comprising depression (decreased immobility time in tail suspension and forced swim tests) and 2 of the co-morbid symptoms overrepresented in TRD, namely anxiety (attenuation of stress-induced hyperthermia, and increased punished crossings in the four plate test) and pain (reversal of hyperalgesia due to sciatic nerve ligation or inflammation). The potential side effect liability of GRN-529 was also assessed using preclinical models: GRN-529 had no effect on rat sexual behavior or motor co-ordination (rotarod), however it impaired cognition in mice (social odor recognition). Efficacy and side effects of GRN-529 were compared to standard of care agents (antidepressant, anxiolytic or analgesics) and the tool mGluR5 NAM, MTEP. To assess the relationship between target occupancy and efficacy, ex vivo receptor occupancy was measured in parallel with efficacy testing. This revealed a strong correlation between target engagement, exposure and efficacy across behavioral endpoints, which supports the potential translational value of PET imaging to dose selection in patients. Collectively this broad spectrum profile of efficacy of GRN-529 supports our hypothesis that negative allosteric modulation of mGluR5 could represent an innovative therapeutic approach to the treatment of TRD. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'mGluR'.
    Neuropharmacology 04/2012; · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is a potential risk that 5-HT(1A) receptor blockade combined with blockade of the 5-HT transporter by an SSRI may cause a toxic increase in 5-HT within the synapse, sparking concern for 'serotonin syndrome', a rare but potentially life threatening condition. We evaluated the safety and pharmacodynamics of the combination of the 5-HT(1A) antagonist lecozotan and the SSRI citalopram in a well-controlled Clinical Pharmacology Unit setting using the Hunter Serotonin Toxicity Criteria (HSTC), a set of validated decision rules featuring neurological and body temperature measurements, to detect any clinically relevant serotonin toxicity. Forty-three young healthy male subjects were randomized, to 2 parallel double-blind treatment groups following a 10-day citalopram 40 mg run-in period: citalopram 40 mg/lecozotan 10mg or citalopram 40 mg/placebo for 9 days. Overall, the combined administration of active drugs was well tolerated, however, one subject experienced moderate hyperreflexia, tremor of the hands, and sweating of hands and feet after 3 days of combined treatment. The event prompted treatment withdrawal and was regarded as mild serotonin toxicity, as per the HSTC. The onset of the event was around the time of peak plasma concentrations (t(max)) of both lecozotan and citalopram, and its time course corresponds to the well-defined PK profile of lecozotan. No evidence of a PK interaction was detected trough lecozotan and citalopram plasma concentrations analysis. The utility of the HSTC in detecting the non-discrete group of symptoms commonly referred to as "serotonin toxicity" was demonstrated in this clinical pharmacology study combining two 5-HT agents in a clinically controlled setting.
    European neuropsychopharmacology: the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology 07/2011; 22(2):92-9. · 3.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The 5-hydroxytryptamine 2C (5-HT(2C)) receptor subtype has received considerable attention as a target for drug discovery, having been implicated in a wide variety of disorders. Here, we describe the in vitro pharmacological profile of the novel 5-HT(2C) receptor-selective agonist vabicaserin [(-)-4,5,6,7,9,9a,10,11,12,12a-decahydrocyclopenta[c] [1,4]diazepino[6,7,1-ij]quinoline hydrochloride] (SCA-136), including a comprehensive strategy to assess 5-HT(2B) receptor selectivity using diverse preparations and assays of receptor activation. Vabicaserin displaced (125)I-(2,5-dimethoxy)phenylisopropylamine binding from human 5-HT(2C) receptor sites in Chinese hamster ovary cell membranes with a K(i) value of 3 nM and was >50-fold selective over a number of serotonergic, noradrenergic, and dopaminergic receptors. Binding affinity determined for the human 5-HT(2B) receptor subtype using [(3)H]5HT was 14 nM. Vabicaserin was a potent and full agonist (EC(50), 8 nM; E(max), 100%) in stimulating 5-HT(2C) receptor-coupled calcium mobilization and exhibited 5-HT(2A) receptor antagonism and 5-HT(2B) antagonist or partial agonist activity in transfected cells, depending on the level of receptor expression. In rat stomach fundus and human colonic longitudinal muscle endogenously expressing 5-HT(2B) receptors, vabicaserin failed to induce a 5-HT(2B) receptor-dependent contraction and produced a rightward shift of the 5-HT and α-methyl-5-HT concentration-response curves in these preparations, respectively, consistent with 5-HT(2B) competitive antagonism. Likewise, vabicaserin failed to induce a 5-HT(2B) receptor-mediated contraction in arteries from deoxycorticosterone acetate-salt-treated rats, a model of hypersensitized 5-HT(2B) receptor function, and produced a rightward shift in the 5-HT-induced response that was consistent with 5-HT(2B) receptor antagonism. In summary, vabicaserin is a novel, potent, and selective 5-HT(2C) receptor agonist.
    Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 03/2011; 337(3):673-80. · 3.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As part of our efforts to develop agents for cognitive enhancement, we have been focused on the 5-HT(6) receptor in order to identify potent and selective ligands for this purpose. Herein we report the identification of a novel series of 3-sulfonylindazole derivatives with acyclic amino side chains as potent and selective 5-HT(6) antagonists. The synthesis and detailed SAR of this class of compounds are reported.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry 01/2011; 19(1):650-62. · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Biogenic amines such as norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin play a well-described role in the treatment of mood disorders and some types of pain. As alpha2A-adrenoceptors regulate the release of these neurotransmitters, we examined the therapeutic potential of BRL 44408, a potent (Ki=8.5 nM) and selective (>50-fold) alpha2A-adrenoceptor antagonist (K(B)=7.9 nM). In rats, BRL 44408 penetrated the central nervous system resulting in peak brain and plasma concentrations of 586 ng/g and 1124 ng/ml, respectively. In a pharmacodynamic assay, pretreatment with BRL 44408 to rats responding under a fixed-ratio 30 operant response paradigm resulted in a rightward shift of the clonidine dose-response curve, an effect indicative of alpha2-adrenoceptor antagonism in vivo. Consistent with presynaptic autoreceptor antagonism and tonic regulation of neurotransmitter release, acute administration of BRL 44408 elevated extracellular concentrations of norepinephrine and dopamine, but not serotonin, in the medial prefrontal cortex. Additionally, BRL 44408, probably by inhibiting alpha2A heteroceptors, produced a significant increase in cortical levels of acetylcholine. In the forced swim test and schedule-induced polydipsia assay, BRL 44408 produced an antidepressant-like response by dose-dependently decreasing immobility time and adjunctive water intake, respectively, while in a model of visceral pain, BRL 44408 exhibited analgesic activity by decreasing para-phenylquinone (PPQ)-induced abdominal stretching. Finally, BRL 44408 did not produce deficits in overall motor coordination nor alter general locomotor activity. This preclinical characterization of the neurochemical and behavioural profile of BRL 44408 suggests that selective antagonism of alpha2A-adrenoceptors may represent an effective treatment strategy for mood disorders and visceral pain.
    The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 10/2010; 13(9):1193-205. · 5.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As part of our efforts to develop agents for CNS diseases, we have been focused on the 5-HT(6) receptor in order to identify potent and selective ligands for cognitive enhancement. Herein we report the identification of a novel series of 5-piperazinyl-3-sulfonylindazoles as potent and selective 5-HT(6) antagonists. The synthesis, SAR, and pharmacokinetic and pharmacological activities of some of the compounds including 3-(naphthalen-1-ylsulfonyl)-5-(piperazin-1-yl)-1H-indazole (WAY-255315 or SAM-315) will be described.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 10/2010; 53(21):7639-46. · 5.61 Impact Factor
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    Gregory V Carr, Lee E Schechter, Irwin Lucki
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    ABSTRACT: Although selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) produce clinical therapeutic effects on depression and anxiety through augmentation of serotonergic neurotransmission, there is little known about the potential contributions of the 5-HT(6) receptor in the treatment of mood disorders. The aim of this study was to test the potential antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of the 5-HT(6) receptor agonists WAY-208466 and WAY-181187 using established behavioral tests in rats. In order to determine if the 5-HT(6) receptor agonists possess antidepressant-like activity, rats were treated with WAY-208466 or WAY-181187 and tested in the modified rat forced swim test (FST). Also, the potential anxiolytic-like effects of WAY-208466 and WAY-181187 were measured using the defensive burying (DB) test and novelty-induced hypophagia (NIH) test. WAY-208466 and WAY-181187 produced both antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects. Both compounds decreased immobility and increased swimming behavior in the FST. The effects of the 5-HT(6) receptor agonists were similar to those seen after treatment with the SSRI fluoxetine. Both 5-HT(6) receptor agonists also decreased burying duration in the DB test, indicative of anxiolytic activity in the test. The anxiolytic effects of WAY-208466 were reproduced in the NIH test. Assessment of the anxiolytic effects of WAY-181187 in the NIH was confounded by alterations in home cage feeding behavior. These findings suggest that 5-HT(6) receptor agonists may represent a new class of potential antidepressant and anxiolytic compounds and could possess a number of advantages over currently available treatments, including rapid onset of anxiolytic efficacy.
    Psychopharmacology 03/2010; 213(2-3):499-507. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: The effects of angiotensin (Ang) IV result from binding to a constitutively active metallopeptidase known as the AT(4) receptor (or oxytocinase/insulin-regulated membrane aminopeptidase). While in vitro evidence indicates that Ang IV inhibits the peptidase activity of AT(4) receptors, leading to increases in the concentrations of several peptides, including oxytocin, the consequence of inhibiting AT(4) peptidase activity in vivo remains unresolved. DISCUSSION: Microdialysis coupled to immunoassay techniques revealed that systemic and intra-amygdala injection of Nle-Ang IV, a metabolically stable derivative of Ang IV, significantly elevated extracellular levels of oxytocin in the rat amygdala. Based on earlier reports describing the anxiolytic-like effects of oxytocin, we investigated whether disrupting AT(4) peptidase activity would yield similar responses. In the mouse four-plate test, acute treatment with either Nle-Ang IV or LVV-hemorphin-7, a related AT(4) receptor ligand, elicited significant increases in the number of punished crossings. These behavioral responses were comparable to the anxiolytic-like effects of oxytocin and to the standard anxiolytic agent, chlordiazepoxide. Cotreatment with either the AT(4) receptor antagonist, divalinal, or the selective oxytocin receptor antagonist, WAY-162720, reversed the anxiolytic-like effects of Nle-Ang IV, while combining ineffective doses of Nle-Ang IV and oxytocin increased the number of punished crossings in this assay. Conversely, Nle-Ang IV and LVV-hemorphin-7 were inactive in the mouse tail suspension test of antidepressant activity. These findings represent the first in vivo demonstration of the peptidase activity of AT(4) receptors, confirm the anxiolytic-like properties of Ang IV, and reveal a unique and previously uncharacterized relationship between AT(4) and oxytocin receptor systems.
    Psychopharmacology 03/2010; 209(4):303-11. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lecozotan is a selective serotonergic 5-HT(1A) receptor antagonist previously shown to enhance task performance efficiency in aged rhesus monkeys. In the present report we tested the ability of this drug to modify memory and learning in rats during a modified passive avoidance response test, and also tested its effect on anxiety with the elevated plus maze, and behavioral depression in the inescapable swim test. Lecozotan enhanced memory in a dose-dependent manner (0, 0.3, 0.5, 1 and 2mg/kg; s.c.), or prevented memory impairment previously induced with scopolamine-HCl. No significant changes in anxiety and behavioral depression were detected in animals treated with different doses of lecozotan (0, 0.3, 1 and 2mg/kg; s.c.) compared to control animals. These results suggest that lecozotan could enhance learning and memory in animals without affecting anxiety or behavioral depression scores and that it could be a viable alternative in the treatment of patients with cognitive deficits such as the Alzheimer's disease.
    Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 02/2010; 95(3):325-30. · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several benzofuran derivatives linked to a 3-indoletetrahydropyridine through an alkyl chain were prepared and evaluated for serotonin transporter and 5-HT(1A) receptor affinities. Their design, synthesis and structure-activity relationships are described.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 02/2010; 20(3):824-7. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Novel 5-cyclic amine-3-arylsulfonylindazoles were prepared, and several analogues within this class have been identified as high-affinity 5-HT(6) receptor ligands with improved pharmacokinetic and pharmacological properties. One selected example, 18b, showed good brain penetrability and a generally favorable pharmacokinetic profile with procognitive efficacy in the rat novel object recognition assay. The synthesis and structure-activity relationship of this potent class are discussed.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 02/2010; 53(6):2521-7. · 5.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Novel 3-(arylsulfonyl)-1-(azacyclyl)-1H-indoles 6 were synthesized as potential 5-HT(6) receptor ligands, based on constraining a basic side chain as either a piperidine or a pyrrolidine. Many of these compounds had good 5-HT(6) binding affinity with K(i) values <10nM. Depending on substitution, both agonists (e.g., 6o: EC(50)=60nM, E(max)=70%) and antagonists (6y: IC(50)=17 nM, I(max)=86%) were identified in a 5-HT(6) adenylyl cyclase assay.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 01/2010; 20(5):1657-60. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ChemInform is a weekly Abstracting Service, delivering concise information at a glance that was extracted from about 100 leading journals. To access a ChemInform Abstract of an article which was published elsewhere, please select a “Full Text” option. The original article is trackable via the “References” option.
    ChemInform 01/2010; 33(24).
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    ABSTRACT: ChemInform is a weekly Abstracting Service, delivering concise information at a glance that was extracted from about 100 leading journals. To access a ChemInform Abstract of an article which was published elsewhere, please select a “Full Text” option. The original article is trackable via the “References” option.
    ChemInform 01/2010; 32(33).
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    ABSTRACT: 1-(2-Aminoethyl)-3-(arylsulfonyl)-1H-pyrrolopyridines were prepared. Binding assays indicated they are 5-HT(6) receptor ligands, among which 6f and 6g showed high affinity for 5-HT(6) receptors with K(i)=3.9 and 1.7 nM, respectively.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 10/2009; 19(24):6935-8. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The structure-activity relationship (SAR) for three series of lactam-fused chroman derivatives possessing 3-amino substituents was evaluated. Many compounds exhibited affinities for both the 5-HT(1A) receptor and the 5-HT transporter. Compounds 45 and 53 demonstrated 5-HT(1A) antagonist activities in the in vitro cAMP turnover model.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 10/2009; 20(1):222-7. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: On the basis of the previously reported clinical candidate, SSA-426 (1), a series of related 2-piperazin-1-ylquinoline derivatives 3-16 were synthesized and evaluated as dual-acting serotonin (5-HT) reuptake inhibitors and 5-HT1A receptor antagonists. In particular, compound 7 exhibits potent functional activities at both the 5-HT transporter and 5-HT1A receptor, good selectivity over the alpha1-adrenergic and dopaminergic receptors, acceptable pharmacokinetic properties, and a favorable in vivo profile.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 09/2009; 52(15):4955-9. · 5.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The widely reported effects of oxytocin (OT) on CNS function has generated considerable interest in the therapeutic potential for targeting this system for a variety of human psychiatric diseases, including anxiety disorders, autism, schizophrenia, and depression. The utility of synthetic OT, as both a research tool and neurotherapeutic, is limited by the physiochemical properties inherent in most neuropeptides, notably its short half-life and poor blood brain barrier penetration. Subsequently, the discovery and development of non-peptide molecules that act as selective agonists of the oxytocin receptor (OTR) has been an important goal of the field. In this study, we report the receptor and behavioral pharmacology of WAY-267464, a first generation small-molecule OTR agonist. WAY-267464 is a high-affinity, potent, and selective (vs. V1a, V2, V1b) agonist of the OTR. In assays measuring both behavioral (four-plate test, elevated zero maze) and autonomic (stress-induced hyperthermia) parameters of the anxiety response, WAY-267464 exhibits an anxiolytic-like profile similar to OT. We have demonstrated that the anxiolytic-like profile of WAY-267464 is mediated through central sites of action. WAY-267464 also significantly reverses disruption in prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle reflex induced by either MK-801 or amphetamine, similar to the antipsychotic-like effects previously reported for OT. Interestingly, in the mouse tail suspension test, WAY-267464 failed to produce changes in immobility that are seen with OT, raising the question of whether the antidepressant-like activity of OT may be working independently of the OTR. A selective OTR antagonist also failed to block the effects of OT on immobility in the TST. The significance of these findings for shaping the clinical development of OTR agonists is discussed.
    Neuropharmacology 08/2009; 58(1):69-77. · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sexual dysfunction associated with antidepressant treatment continues to be a major compliance issue for antidepressant therapies. 5-HT(1A) antagonists have been suggested as beneficial adjunctive treatment in respect of antidepressant efficacy; however, the effects of 5-HT(1A) antagonism on antidepressant-induced side-effects has not been fully examined. The present study was conducted to evaluate the ability of acute or chronic treatment with 5-HT(1A) antagonists to alter chronic fluoxetine-induced impairments in sexual function. Chronic 14-d treatment with fluoxetine resulted in a marked reduction in the number of non-contact penile erections in sexually experienced male rats, relative to vehicle-treated controls. Acute administration of the 5-HT(1A) antagonist WAY-101405 resulted in a complete reversal of chronic fluoxetine-induced deficits on non-contact penile erections at doses that did not significantly alter baselines. Chronic co-administration of the 5-HT(1A) antagonists WAY-100635 or WAY-101405 with fluoxetine prevented fluoxetine-induced deficits in non-contact penile erections in sexually experienced male rats. Moreover, withdrawal of WAY-100635 from co-treatment with chonic fluoxetine, resulted in a time-dependent reinstatement of chronic fluoxetine-induced deficits in non-contact penile erections. Additionally, chronic administration of SSA-426, a molecule with dual activity as both a SSRI and 5-HT(1A) antagonist, did not produce deficits in non-contact penile erections at doses demonstrated to have antidepressant-like activity in the olfactory bulbectomy model. Taken together, these data suggest that 5-HT(1A) antagonist treatment may have utility for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction.
    The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 06/2009; 12(8):1045-53. · 5.64 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
303.15 Total Impact Points


  • 2011
    • Pfizer Inc.
      • Neuroscience Research Unit
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 2008–2010
    • University of Pennsylvania
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      • • Department of Pharmacology
      Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 2007
    • PsychoGenics Inc.
      Tarrytown, New York, United States
  • 2002
    • GlaxoSmithKline plc.
      Londinium, England, Belgium