MC-100093, a novel β-lactam glutamate transporter-1 enhancer devoid of antimicrobial properties, attenuates cocaine relapse in rats

Lori A. Knackstedt, Lizhen Wu, Jeffrey Rothstein, Svetlana Vidensky, John Gordon, Mercy Ramanjulu, Paul Dunman, Benjamin Blass, Wayne Childers, Magid Abou-Gharbia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cocaine use disorder currently lacks Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments. In rodents, the glutamate transporter-1 (GLT-1) is downregulated in the nucleus accumbens after cocaine self-administration, and increasing the expression and function of GLT-1 reduces the reinstatement of cocaine seeking. The β-lactam antibiotic ceftriaxone upregulates GLT-1 and attenuates cue- and cocaine-induced cocaine seeking without affecting motivation for natural rewards. Although ceftriaxone shows promise for treating cocaine use disorder, it possesses characteristics that limit successful translation from bench to bedside, including poor brain penetration, a lack of oral bioavailability, and a risk of bacterial resistance when used chronically. Thus, we aimed to develop novel molecules that retained the GLT-1-enhancing effects of ceftriaxone but displayed superior drug-like properties. Here, we describe a new monocyclic β-lactam, MC-100093, as a potent upregulator of GLT-1 that is orally bioavailable and devoid of antimicrobial properties. MC-100093 was synthesized and tested in vitro and in vivo to determine physiochemical, pharmacokinetic, and pharmacodynamic properties. Next, adult male rats underwent cocaine self-administration and extinction training. During extinction training, rats received one of four doses of MC-100093 for 6-8 days prior to a single cue-primed reinstatement test. Separate cohorts of rats were used to assess nucleus accumbens GLT-1 expression and MC-100093 effects on sucrose self-administration. We found that 50 mg/kg MC-100093 attenuated cue-primed reinstatement of cocaine seeking while upregulating GLT-1 expression in the nucleus accumbens core. This dose did not produce sedation, nor did it decrease sucrose consumption or body weight. Thus, MC-100093 represents a potential treatment to reduce cocaine relapse. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Increasing GLT-1 activity reliably reduces drug-seeking across classes of drugs; however, existing GLT1-enhancers have side effects and lack oral bioavailability. To address this issue, novel GLT-1 enhancers were synthesized, and the compound with the most favorable pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties, MC-100093, was selected for further testing. MC-100093 attenuated cued cocaine seeking without reducing food seeking or locomotion and upregulated GLT-1 expression in the nucleus accumbens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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