"Breakthrough" Dopamine Supersensitivity during Ongoing Antipsychotic Treatment Leads to Treatment Failure over Time

Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.34). 04/2007; 27(11):2979-86. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5416-06.2007
Source: PubMed


Antipsychotics often lose efficacy in patients despite chronic continuous treatment. Why this occurs is not known. It is known, however, that withdrawal from chronic antipsychotic treatment induces behavioral dopaminergic supersensitivity in animals. How this emerging supersensitivity might interact with ongoing treatment has never been assessed. Therefore, we asked whether dopamine supersensitivity could overcome the behavioral and neurochemical effects of antipsychotics while they are still in use. Using two models of antipsychotic-like effects in rats, we show that during ongoing treatment with clinically relevant doses, haloperidol and olanzapine progressively lose their efficacy in suppressing amphetamine-induced locomotion and conditioned avoidance responding. Treatment failure occurred despite high levels of dopamine D2 receptor occupancy by the antipsychotic and was at least temporarily reversible by an additional increase in antipsychotic dose. To explore potential mechanisms, we studied presynaptic and postsynaptic elements of the dopamine system and observed that antipsychotic failure was accompanied by opposing changes across the synapse: tolerance to the ability of haloperidol to increase basal dopamine and dopamine turnover on one side, and 20-40% increases in D2 receptor number and 100-160% increases in the proportion of D2 receptors in the high-affinity state for dopamine (D2(High)) on the other. Thus, the loss of antipsychotic efficacy is linked to an increase in D2 receptor number and sensitivity. These results are the first to demonstrate that "breakthrough" supersensitivity during ongoing antipsychotic treatment undermines treatment efficacy. These findings provide a model and a mechanism for antipsychotic treatment failure and suggest new directions for the development of more effective antipsychotics.

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Available from: Philip Seeman, Mar 13, 2015
    • "In animals, the persistence of antipsychotic-induced dopamine supersensitivity is proportional to the length of the antipsychotic treatment (Muller and Seeman, 1977). The haloperidol treatment regimen used here produces dopamine supersensitivity that persists for at least 10–11 days after antipsychotic treatment cessation (Samaha et al., 2007; Bedard et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Antipsychotic treatment can produce supersensitivity to dopamine receptor stimulation. This compromises the efficacy of ongoing treatment and increases the risk of relapse to psychosis upon treatment cessation. Serotonin 5-HT2 receptors modulate dopamine function and thereby influence dopamine-dependent responses. Here we evaluated the hypothesis that 5-HT2 receptors modulate the behavioural expression of antipsychotic-induced dopamine supersensitivity. To this end, we first treated rats with the antipsychotic haloperidol using a clinically relevant treatment regimen. We then assessed the effects of a 5-HT2 receptor antagonist (ritanserin; 0.01 and 0.1mg/kg) and of a 5-HT2A receptor antagonist (MDL100,907; 0.025-0.1mg/kg) on amphetamine-induced psychomotor activity. Antipsychotic-treated rats showed increased amphetamine-induced locomotion relative to antipsychotic-naïve rats, indicating a dopamine supersensitive state. At the highest dose tested (0.1mg/kg for both antagonists), both ritanserin and MDL100,907 suppressed amphetamine-induced locomotion in antipsychotic-treated rats, while having no effect on this behaviour in control rats. In parallel, antipsychotic treatment decreased 5-HT2A receptor density in the prelimbic cortex and nucleus accumbens core and increased 5-HT2A receptor density in the caudate-putamen. Thus, activation of either 5-HT2 receptors or of 5-HT2A receptors selectively is required for the full expression of antipsychotic-induced dopamine supersensitivity. In addition, antipsychotic-induced dopamine supersensitivity enhances the ability of 5-HT2/5-HT2A receptors to modulate dopamine-dependent behaviours. These effects are potentially linked to changes in 5-HT2A receptor density in the prefrontal cortex and the striatum. These observations raise the possibility that blockade of 5-HT2A receptors might overcome some of the behavioural manifestations of antipsychotic-induced dopamine supersensitivity.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · European neuropsychopharmacology: the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
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    • "These two phenomena can manifest at multiple levels, including neurotransmitter release, changes in neuroreceptor levels, receptor-mediated second messenger activities, cell electrophysiology, and behaviors, and which can be clinically relevant. For example, haloperidol-induced sensitization has been linked to the gradual development of some extrapyramidal motor side effects (Turrone et al., 2005), increased dopamine supersensitivity (Samaha et al., 2007), and the progressive improvement of psychosis (Agid et al., 2003). One important issue in the field of antipsychotic sensitization and tolerance is to identify the critical factors that determine the specific patterns of the long-term effects of chronic antipsychotic drug treatment. "
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    ABSTRACT: The present study investigated how repeated administration of aripiprazole (a novel antipsychotic drug) alters its behavioral effects in two behavioral tests of antipsychotic activity and whether this alteration is correlated with an increase in dopamine D2 receptor function. Male adult Sprague-Dawley rats were first repeatedly tested with aripiprazole (3, 10 and 30 mg/kg, subcutaneously (sc)) or vehicle in a conditioned avoidance response (CAR) test or a phencyclidine (PCP) (3.20 mg/kg, sc)-induced hyperlocomotion test daily for five consecutive days. After 2-3 days of drug-free retraining or resting, all rats were then challenged with aripiprazole (1.5 or 3.0 mg/kg, sc). Repeated administration of aripiprazole progressively increased its inhibition of avoidance responding and PCP-induced hyperlocomotion. More importantly, rats previously treated with aripiprazole showed significantly lower avoidance response and lower PCP-induced hyperlocomotion than those previously treated with vehicle in the challenge tests. An increased sensitivity to quinpirole (a selective D2/3 agonist) in prior aripiprazole-treated rats was also found in the quinpirole-induced hyperlocomotion test, suggesting an enhanced D2/3-mediated function. These findings suggest that aripiprazole, despite its distinct receptor mechanisms of action, induces a sensitization effect similar to those induced by other antipsychotic drugs and this effect may be partially mediated by brain plasticity involving D2/3 receptor systems. © The Author(s) 2015.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Psychopharmacology
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    • "). This kind of response has been well documented in other areas of medicine (e. g., Eghøj and Sørensen, 2012; Nauck et al., 2011; Samaha et al., 2007). However, it could also be the case that subsequent depressive episodes are not caused by the same etiological pathway . "
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    ABSTRACT: Major depressive disorder (MDD) presents with a variety of symptoms and responds to a wide range of treatment interventions. Diagnostic criteria collapse multiple syndromes with distinct etiologies into the same disorder. MDD is typically understood as a malfunction of neurotransmission or brain circuitry regulating mood, pleasure and reward, or executive function. However, research from an evolutionary perspective suggests that the “normal” functioning of adaptations may also generate symptoms meeting diagnostic criteria. Functioning adaptations may be an underappreciated etiological pathway to MDD. Many adaptive functions for depressive symptoms have been suggested: biasing cognition to avoid losses, conserving energy, disengaging from unobtainable goals, signaling submission, soliciting resources, and promoting analytical thinking. We review the potential role of these adaptive functions and how they can lead to specific clusters of depressive symptoms. Understanding MDD from such a perspective reduces the heterogeneity of cases and may help to select the best intervention for each patient. We discuss the implications of different adaptive and maladaptive etiological pathways for the use of antidepressants and various modes of psychotherapy. In particular, instances of MDD caused by functioning adaptations may benefit most from treatments that support the adaptive function, or that target the precipitating causal stressor. We conclude that an evolutionary approach to the study of MDD may be one of the more promising approaches to reduce its heterogeneity and to better match patients and treatment.
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