Glycine transporter 1 as a potential therapeutic target for schizophrenia-related symptoms: Evidence from genetically modified mouse models and pharmacological inhibition

Institute of Pharmacology, University and ETH Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland.
Biochemical pharmacology (Impact Factor: 5.01). 02/2011; 81(9):1065-77. DOI: 10.1016/j.bcp.2011.02.003
Source: PubMed


Schizophrenia is characterized by positive symptoms such as hallucinations, negative symptoms such as blunted affect, and symptoms of cognitive deficiency such as deficits in working memory and selective attention. N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) hypofunction has been implicated in all three pathophysiological aspects of the disease. Due to the severe side effects of direct NMDAR agonists, targeting the modulatory co-agonist glycine-B site of the NMDAR is considered to be a promising strategy to ameliorate NMDAR hypofunction. To assess the antipsychotic and pro-cognitive potential of this approach, we examine the strategies designed to enhance glycine-B site occupancy through glycine transporter 1 (GlyT1) blockade. Among the existing transgenic mouse models with GlyT1 deficits, the one specifically targeting forebrain neuronal GlyT1 has yielded the most promising data on cognitive enhancement. Parallel advances in the pharmacology of GlyT1 inhibition point not only to an enhancement of attention, learning and memory but also include suggestions of mood enhancing effects that might be valuable for treating negative symptoms. Thus, interventions at GlyT1 are highly effective in modifying multiple brain functions, and dissection of their respective mechanisms is expected to further maximize their therapeutic potential for human mental diseases.

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Available from: Benjamin K Yee
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    • "by a decrease in hippocampal glycine uptake, an increase in hippocampal NMDAR function, and a wide spectrum of pro-cognitive effects (Mohler et al., 2011; Mohler et al., 2008; Yee et al., 2006). Therefore, GlyT1 has emerged as a promising target for the treatment of cognitive symptoms in schizophrenia and several compounds are currently in phase II and III clinical trials (Black et al., 2009; Mohler et al., 2011; Singer et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Glycine is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in brainstem and spinal cord, whereas in hippocampus glycine exerts dual modulatory roles on strychnine-sensitive glycine receptors and on the strychnine-insensitive glycineB site of the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR). In hippocampus, the synaptic availability of glycine is largely under control of glycine transporter 1 (GlyT1). Since epilepsy is a disorder of disrupted network homeostasis affecting the equilibrium of various neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, we hypothesized that changes in hippocampal GlyT1 expression and resulting disruption of glycine homeostasis might be implicated in the pathophysiology of epilepsy. Using two different rodent models of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) - the intrahippocampal kainic acid model of TLE in mice, and the rat model of tetanic stimulation-induced TLE - we first demonstrated robust overexpression of GlyT1 in the hippocampal formation, suggesting dysfunctional glycine signaling in epilepsy. Overexpression of GlyT1 in the hippocampal formation was corroborated in human TLE samples by quantitative real time PCR. In support of a role of dysfunctional glycine signaling in the pathophysiology of epilepsy, both the genetic deletion of GlyT1 in hippocampus and the GlyT1 inhibitor LY2365109 increased seizure thresholds in mice. Importantly, chronic seizures in the mouse model of TLE were robustly suppressed by systemic administration of the GlyT1 inhibitor LY2365109. We conclude that GlyT1 overexpression in the epileptic brain constitutes a new target for therapeutic intervention, and that GlyT1 inhibitors constitute a new class of antiictogenic drugs. These findings are of translational value since GlyT1 inhibitors are already in clinical development to treat cognitive symptoms in schizophrenia
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    • "Its targeted disruption is linked to severe sensorimotor deficits and early postnatal lethality in mice [Jursky and Nelson, 1996; Bakkar et al., 2011]. Slc6a9 plays a role in the regulation of glycine levels in NMDA receptor-mediated neurotransmission, and is used as a therapeutic target for schizophrenia [Bergeron et al., 1998; Mohler et al., 2011]. In vitro and in vivo modulation of Slc6a9 expression is associated with NMDA neurotransmission facilitation and working memory enhancement [Yee et al., 2006; Singer et al., 2009]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Human fetuses with Down syndrome demonstrate abnormal brain growth and reduced neurogenesis. Despite the prenatal onset of the phenotype, most therapeutic trials have been conducted in adults. Here, we present evidence for fetal brain molecular and neonatal behavioral alterations in the Ts1Cje mouse model of Down syndrome. Embryonic day 15.5 brain hemisphere RNA from Ts1Cje embryos (n = 5) and wild type littermates (n = 5) was processed and hybridized to mouse gene 1.0 ST arrays. Bioinformatic analyses were implemented to identify differential gene and pathway regulation during Ts1Cje fetal brain development. In separate experiments, the Fox scale, ultrasonic vocalization and homing tests were used to investigate behavioral deficits in Ts1Cje pups (n = 29) versus WT littermates (n = 64) at postnatal days 3-21. Ts1Cje fetal brains displayed more differentially regulated genes (n = 71) than adult (n = 31) when compared to their age-matched euploid brains. Ts1Cje embryonic brains showed up-regulation of cell cycle markers and down-regulation of the solute-carrier amino acid transporters. Several cellular processes were dysregulated at both stages, including apoptosis, inflammation, Jak/Stat signaling, G-protein signaling, and oxidoreductase activity. In addition, early behavioral deficits in surface righting, cliff aversion, negative geotaxis, forelimb grasp, ultrasonic vocalization, and the homing tests were observed. The Ts1Cje mouse model exhibits abnormal gene expression during fetal brain development, and significant neonatal behavioral deficits in the pre-weaning period. In combination with human studies, this suggests that the Down syndrome phenotype manifests prenatally and provides a rationale for prenatal therapy to improve perinatal brain development and postnatal neurocognition. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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    ABSTRACT: Although early clinical observations implicated dopamine dysfunction in the neuropathology of schizophrenia, accumulating evidence suggests that multiple neurotransmitter pathways are dysregulated. The psychotomimetic actions of NMDA receptor antagonists point to an imbalance of glutamatergic signaling. Encouragingly, numerous preclinical and clinical studies have elucidated several potential targets for increasing NMDA receptor function and equilibrating glutamatergic tone, including the metabotropic glutamate receptors 2, 3 and 5, the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors M(1) and M(4), and the glycine transporter GlyT1. Highly specific allosteric and orthosteric ligands have been developed that modify the activity of these novel target proteins, and in this review we summarize both the glutamatergic mechanisms and the novel compounds that are increasing the promise for a multifaceted pharmacological approach to treat schizophrenia.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · Trends in Molecular Medicine
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