The novel modafinil analog, JJC8-016, as a potential cocaine abuse pharmacotherapeutic

Haiying Zhang, Guo Hua Bi, Hong Ju Yang, Yi He, Gilbert Xue, Jiajing Cao, Gianluigi Tanda, Eliot L. Gardner, Amy Hauck Newman, Zheng Xiong Xi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


(±)Modafinil ((±)MOD) and its R-enantiomer (R-modafinil; R-MOD) have been investigated for their potential as treatments for psychostimulant addiction. We recently reported a series of (±)MOD analogs, of which JJC8-016 (N-(2-((bis(4-fluorophenyl)methyl)thio)ethyl)-3-phenylpropan-1-amine) was selected for further development. JJC8-016 and R-MOD were evaluated for binding across ∼70 receptors, transporters, and enzymes. Although at a concentration of 10 μM, there were many hits for JJC8-016, binding affinities in the range of its DAT affinity were only observed at the serotonin transporter (SERT), dopamine D 2 -like, and sigma 1 receptors. R-MOD was more selective, but had much lower affinity at the DAT (K i =3 μM) than JJC8-016 (K i =116 nM). In rats, systemic administration of R-MOD alone (10-30 mg/kg i.p.) dose-dependently increased locomotor activity and electrical brain-stimulation reward, whereas JJC8-016 (10-30 mg/kg i.p.) did not produce these effects. Strikingly, pretreatment with JJC8-016 dose-dependently inhibited cocaine-enhanced locomotion, cocaine self-administration, and cocaine-induced reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior, whereas R-MOD inhibited cocaine-induced reinstatement only at the high dose of 100 mg/kg. Notably, JJC8-016 alone neither altered extracellular dopamine in the nucleus accumbens nor maintained self-administration. It also failed to induce reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior. These findings suggest that JJC8-016 is a unique DAT inhibitor that has no cocaine-like abuse potential by itself. Moreover, pretreatment with JJC8-016 significantly inhibits cocaine-taking and cocaine-seeking behavior likely by interfering with cocaine binding to DAT. In addition, off-target actions may also contribute to its potential therapeutic utility in the treatment of cocaine abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1871-1883
Number of pages13
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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