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Salt Lake City, UT, United States

Zhang D.,SRI International | Bordia T.,SRI International | Mcgregor M.,SRI International | Mcintosh J.M.,George hlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center | And 3 more authors.
Movement Disorders | Year: 2014

Levodopa-induced dyskinesias (LIDs) are a serious complication of levodopa therapy for Parkinson's disease for which there is little treatment. Accumulating evidence shows that nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) drugs decrease LIDs in parkinsonian animals. Here, we examined the effect of two β2 nAChR agonists, ABT-089 and ABT-894, that previously were approved for phase 2 clinical trials for other indications. Two sets of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-lesioned monkeys were administered levodopa/carbidopa (10 mg/kg and 2.5 mg/kg, respectively) twice daily 5 days a week until they were stably dyskinetic. Each set had a vehicle-treated group, an nAChR agonist-treated group, and a nicotine-treated group as a positive control. Set A monkeys had previously received other nAChR drugs (nAChR drug-primed), whereas Set B monkeys were initially nAChR drug-naive. Both sets were administered the partial agonist ABT-089 (range, 0.01-1.0 mg/kg) orally 5 days a week twice daily 30 minutes before levodopa with each dose given for 1 to 5 weeks. ABT-089 decreased LIDs by 30% to 50% compared with vehicle-treated monkeys. Nicotine reduced LIDs by 70% in a parallel group. After 4 weeks of washout, the effect of the full agonist ABT-894 (range, 0.0001-0.10 mg/kg) was assessed on LIDs in Set A and Set B. ABT-894 reduced LIDs by 70%, similar to nicotine. Both drugs acted equally well at α4β2* and α6β2* nAChRs; however, ABT-089 was 30 to 60 times less potent than ABT-894. Tolerance did not develop for the time periods tested (range, 3-4 months). The nAChR drugs did not worsen parkinsonism or cognitive ability. Emesis, a common problem with nAChR drugs, was not observed. ABT-894 and ABT-089 appear to be good candidate nAChR drugs for the management of LIDs in Parkinson's disease. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society. Source

Engle S.E.,Purdue University | McIntosh J.M.,George hlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center | McIntosh J.M.,University of Utah | Drenan R.M.,Purdue University
Neuropharmacology | Year: 2015

Nicotine + ethanol co-exposure results in additive and/or synergistic effects in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to nucleus accumbens (NAc) dopamine (DA) pathway, but the mechanisms supporting this are unclear. We tested the hypothesis that nAChRs containing α6 subunits (α6∗ nAChRs) are involved in the response to nicotine + ethanol co-exposure. Exposing VTA slices from C57BL/6 WT animals to drinking-relevant concentrations of ethanol causes a marked enhancement of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor (AMPAR) function in VTA neurons. This effect was sensitive to α-conotoxin MII (an α6β2∗ nAChR antagonist), suggesting that α6∗ nAChR function is required. In mice expressing hypersensitive α6∗ nAChRs (α6L9S mice), we found that lower concentrations (relative to C57BL/6 WT) of ethanol were sufficient to enhance AMPAR function in VTA neurons. Exposure of live C57BL/6 WT mice to ethanol also produced AMPAR functional enhancement in VTA neurons, and studies in α6L9S mice strongly suggest a role for α6∗ nAChRs in this response. We then asked whether nicotine and ethanol cooperate to enhance VTA AMPAR function. We identified low concentrations of nicotine and ethanol that were capable of strongly enhancing VTA AMPAR function when co-applied to slices, but that did not enhance AMPAR function when applied alone. This effect was sensitive to both varenicline (an α4β2∗ and α6β2∗ nAChR partial agonist) and α-conotoxin MII. Finally, nicotine + ethanol co-exposure also enhanced AMPAR function in VTA neurons from α6L9S mice. Together, these data identify α6∗ nAChRs as important players in the response to nicotine + ethanol co-exposure in VTA neurons. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Di Cesare Mannelli L.,University of Florence | Cinci L.,University of Florence | Micheli L.,University of Florence | Zanardelli M.,University of Florence | And 4 more authors.
Pain | Year: 2014

Neuropathic pain affects millions of people worldwide, causing substantial disability and greatly impairing quality of life. Commonly used analgesics or antihyperalgesic compounds are generally characterized by limited therapeutic outcomes. Thus, there is a compelling need for novel therapeutic strategies able to prevent nervous tissue alterations responsible for chronic pain. The α9α10 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist α-conotoxin RgIA (RgIA), a peptide isolated from the venom of a carnivorous cone snail, induces relief in both acute and chronic pain models. To evaluate potential disease-modifying effects of RgIA, the compound was given to rats following chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve. Two or 10 nmol RgIA injected intramuscularly once a day for 14 days reduced the painful response to suprathreshold stimulation, increased pain threshold to nonnoxious stimuli, and normalized alterations in hind limb weight bearing. Histological analysis of the sciatic nerve revealed that RgIA prevented CCI-induced decreases of axonal compactness and diameter, loss of myelin sheath, and decreases in the fiber number. Moreover, RgIA significantly reduced edema and inflammatory infiltrate, including a decrease of CD86+macrophages. In L4-L5 dorsal root ganglia, RgIA prevented morphometric changes and reduced the inflammatory infiltrate consistent with a disease-modifying effect. In the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, RgIA prevented CCI-induced activation of microglia and astrocytes. These data suggest that RgIA-like compounds may represent a novel class of therapeutics for neuropathic pain that protects peripheral nervous tissues as well as prevents central maladaptive plasticity by inhibiting glial cell activation. © 2014 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Source

Engle S.E.,Purdue University | Shih P.-Y.,Purdue University | McIntosh J.M.,George hlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center | McIntosh J.M.,University of Utah | Drenan R.M.,Purdue University
Molecular Pharmacology | Year: 2013

Tobacco addiction is a serious threat to public health in the United States and abroad, and development of new therapeutic approaches is a major priority. Nicotine activates and/or desensitizes nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) throughout the brain. nAChRs in ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) neurons are crucial for the rewarding and reinforcing properties of nicotine in rodents, suggesting that theymay be keymediators of nicotine's action in humans. However, it is unknown which nAChR subtypes are sufficient to activate these neurons. To test the hypothesis that nAChRs containing α6 subunits are sufficient to activate VTA DA neurons, we studied mice expressing hypersensitive, gain-offunction α6 nAChRs (α6L99S mice). In voltage-clamp recordings in brain slices from adult mice, 100 nMnicotine was sufficient to elicit inward currents in VTA DA neurons via α6β 2* nAChRs. In addition, we found that low concentrations of nicotine could act selectively through α6β2* nAChRs to enhance the function of 2-amino-3-(3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazol-4-yl)propanoic acid (AMPA) receptors on the surface of these cells. In contrast, α6β2* activation did not enhance N-methyl-D-aspartic acid receptor function. Finally, AMPA receptor (AMPAR) function was not similarly enhanced in brain slices from α6L9'S mice lacking α4 nAChR subunits, suggesting that α4α6β2* nAChRs are important for enhancing AMPAR function in VTA DA neurons. Together, these data suggest that activation of α4α6β2* nAChRs in VTA DA neurons is sufficient to support the initiation of cellular changes that play a role in addiction to nicotine. a4a6b2* nAChRs may be a promising target for future smoking cessation pharmacotherapy. Source

Perez X.A.,SRI International | McIntosh J.M.,George hlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center | McIntosh J.M.,University of Utah | Quik M.,SRI International
Journal of Neurochemistry | Year: 2013

Long-term nicotine exposure induces alterations in dopamine transmission in nucleus accumbens that sustain the reinforcing effects of smoking. One approach to understand the adaptive changes that arise involves measurement of endogenous dopamine release using voltammetry. We therefore treated rats for 2-3 months with nicotine and examined alterations in nAChR subtype expression and electrically evoked dopamine release in rat nucleus accumbens shell, a region key in addiction. Long-term nicotine treatment selectively decreased stimulated α6β2* nAChR-mediated dopamine release compared with vehicle-treated rats. It also reduced α6β2* nAChRs, suggesting the receptor decline may contribute to the functional loss. This decreased response in release after chronic nicotine treatment was still partially sensitive to the agonist nicotine. Studies with an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor demonstrated that the response was also sensitive to increased endogenous acetylcholine. However, unlike the agonists, nAChR antagonists decreased dopamine release only in vehicle- but not nicotine-treated rats. As antagonists function by blocking the action of acetylcholine, their ineffectiveness suggests that reduced acetylcholine levels partly underlie the dampened α6β2* nAChR-mediated function in nicotine-treated rats. As long-term nicotine modifies dopamine release by decreasing α6β2* nAChRs and their function, these data suggest that interventions that target this subtype may be useful for treating nicotine dependence. Long-term nicotine treatment decreases dopamine (DA) transmission in the mesolimbic dopaminergic system. Our data suggest this may involve a decrease in α6β2* nicotinic receptor expression and function. These changes may play a key role in nicotine reward and dependence. Long-term nicotine treatment decreases dopamine (DA) transmission in the mesolimbic dopaminergic system. Our data suggest this may involve a decrease in α6β2* nicotinic receptor expression and function. These changes may play a key role in nicotine reward and dependence. © 2013 International Society for Neurochemistry. Source

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