Background: N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor open channel blockers phencyclidine (PCP) and dizocilpine (MK-801) elicit schizophrenia-like symptoms in humans and in animal models. Group II metabotropic glutamate receptor agonists reverse the behavioral effects of PCP and MK-801 in animal models. N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG), the third most prevalent neurotransmitter in the mammalian nervous system, is a selective group II metabotropic glutamate receptor agonist. We previously reported that ZJ43, a potent inhibitor of the enzymes that inactivate synaptically released NAAG, reduced motor and stereotypic effects of PCP in the rat. Methods: To confirm the efficacy of NAAG peptidase inhibition in decreasing motor behaviors induced by PCP and MK-801, ZJ43 was tested in additional schizophrenia models. Results: ZJ43 reduced MK-801-induced motor activation in a mouse model that has been used to characterize the efficacy of a wide range of pharmacotherapies for this human disorder. In a second mouse strain, the peptidase inhibitor reduced PCP-induced stereotypic movements. ZJ43 also reduced PCP-induced negative symptoms in a resident-intruder assay. The group II metabotropic glutamate receptor antagonist, LY341495, blocked the effect of NAAG peptidase inhibition in these mouse models of positive and negative PCP- and MK-801-induced behaviors. Additionally, LY341495 alone increased some PCP-induced behaviors suggesting that normal levels of NAAG act to moderate the effect of PCP via a group II mGluR. Conclusions: These data support the proposal that NAAG peptidase inhibition and elevation of synaptic NAAG levels represent a new therapeutic approach to treating the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia that are modeled by open channel NMDA receptor antagonists.
- Group II metabotropic glutamate receptor
- NMDA receptors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry