Hypofunction of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor is thought to exacerbate psychosis in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Consistent with this hypothesis, D-alanine, a co-agonist at the glycine site of the NMDA receptor, was shown to improve positive and cognitive symptoms when used as add-on therapy for schizophrenia treatment. However, D-alanine had to be administered at high doses (∼7 g) to observe clinical effects. One possible reason for the high dose is that D-alanine could be undergoing oxidation by D-amino acid oxidase (DAAO) before it reaches the brain. If this is the case, the dose could be reduced by co-administration of D-alanine with a DAAO inhibitor (DAAOi). Early studies with rodents showed that co-administration of D-alanine with 5-chloro-benzo[d]isoxazol-3-ol (CBIO), a prototype DAAOi, significantly enhanced the levels of extracellular D-alanine in the frontal cortex compared with D-alanine alone. Further, the use of CBIO reduced the dose of D-alanine needed to attenuate prepulse inhibition deficits induced by dizocilpine. The objective of the work reported herein was to confirm the hypothesis that DAAO inhibition can enhance D-alanine exposure in a species closer to humans: non-human primates. We report that while oral D-alanine administration to baboons (10 mg/kg) enhanced D-alanine plasma and CSF levels over 20-fold versus endogenous levels, addition of experimental DAAOi to the regimen exhibited a 2.2-fold enhancement in plasma and no measurable effect on CSF levels. The results provide caution regarding the utility of DAAO inhibition to increase D-amino acid levels as treatment for patients with schizophrenia.
- D-amino acid oxidase inhibition
- NMDA receptor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Pharmacology (medical)