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Guy E.G.,University of Toronto | Guy E.G.,Center for Addiction and Mental Health | Fisher D.C.,Center for Addiction and Mental Health | Higgins G.A.,University of Toronto | And 3 more authors.
Behavioural Pharmacology | Year: 2014

Smoking tobacco remains one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in North America. Nicotine reinforces smoking behavior, in part, by enhancing the reinforcing properties of reward-related stimuli, or conditioned stimuli (CSs), associated with tobacco intake. To investigate how pharmaceutical interventions may affect this property of nicotine, we examined the effect of four US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs on the ability of nicotine to enhance operant responding for a CS as a conditioned reinforcer. Thirsty rats were exposed to 13 Pavlovian sessions where a CS was paired with water delivery. Nicotine (0.4 mg/kg) injections were administered before each Pavlovian session. Then, in separate groups of rats, the effects of varenicline (1 mg/kg), bupropion (10 and 30 mg/kg), lorcaserin (0.6 mg/kg), and naltrexone (2 mg/kg), and their interaction with nicotine on responding for conditioned reinforcement were examined. Varenicline and lorcaserin each reduced nicotine-enhanced responding for conditioned reinforcement, whereas naltrexone had a modest effect of reducing response enhancements by nicotine. In contrast, bupropion enhanced the effect of nicotine on this measure. The results of these studies may inform how pharmaceutical interventions can affect smoking cessation attempts and relapse through diverse mechanisms, either substituting for, or interacting with, the reinforcement-enhancing properties of nicotine. © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health. © Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Source

Zeeb F.D.,Center for Addiction and Mental Health | Higgins G.A.,InterVivo Solutions Inc. | Higgins G.A.,University of Toronto | Fletcher P.J.,Center for Addiction and Mental Health | Fletcher P.J.,University of Toronto
ACS Chemical Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Lorcaserin, a serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) 2C receptor agonist, was recently approved for the treatment of obesity. We previously suggested that 5-HT2C receptor agonists affect reward processes and reduce the rewarding effects of drugs of abuse. Here, we determined whether lorcaserin (1) decreases responding for brain stimulation reward (BSR) and (2) prevents nicotine from enhancing the efficacy of BSR. Rats were trained on the intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) paradigm to nosepoke for BSR of either the dorsal raphé nucleus or left medial forebrain bundle. In Experiment 1, lorcaserin (0.3-1.0 mg/kg) dose-dependently reduced the efficacy of BSR. This effect was blocked by prior administration of the 5-HT2C receptor antagonist SB242084. In Experiment 2, separate groups of rats received saline or nicotine (0.4 mg/kg) for eight sessions prior to testing. Although thresholds were unaltered in saline-treated rats, nicotine reduced reward thresholds. An injection of lorcaserin (0.3 mg/kg) prior to nicotine prevented the reward-enhancing effect of nicotine across multiple test sessions. These results demonstrated that lorcaserin reduces the rewarding value of BSR and also prevents nicotine from facilitating ICSS. Hence, lorcaserin may be effective in treating psychiatric disorders, including obesity and nicotine addiction, by reducing the value of food or drug rewards. © 2015 American Chemical Society. Source

Higgins G.A.,InterVivo Solutions Inc. | Higgins G.A.,University of Toronto | Fletcher P.J.,Section of Biopsychology and Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute | Fletcher P.J.,University of Toronto
ACS Chemical Neuroscience | Year: 2015

The neurotransmitter 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT; serotonin) has long been associated with the control of a variety of motivated behaviors, including feeding. Much of the evidence linking 5-HT and feeding behavior was obtained from studies of the effects of the 5-HT releaser (dex)fenfluramine in laboratory animals and humans. Recently, the selective 5-HT2C receptor agonist lorcaserin received FDA approval for the treatment of obesity. This review examines evidence to support the use of selective 5-HT2C receptor agonists as treatments for conditions beyond obesity, including substance abuse (particularly nicotine, psychostimulant, and alcohol dependence), obsessive compulsive, and excessive gambling disorder. Following a brief survey of the early literature supporting a role for 5-HT in modulating food and drug reinforcement, we propose that intrinsic differences between SSRI and serotonin releasers may have underestimated the value of serotonin-based pharmacotherapeutics to treat clinical forms of addictive behavior beyond obesity. We then highlight the critical involvement of the 5-HT2C receptor in mediating the effect of (dex)fenfluramine on feeding and body weight gain and the evidence that 5-HT2C receptor agonists reduce measures of drug reward and impulsivity. A recent report of lorcaserin efficacy in a smoking cessation trial further strengthens the idea that 5-HT2C receptor agonists may have potential as a treatment for addiction. This review was prepared as a contribution to the proceedings of the 11th International Society for Serotonin Research Meeting held in Hermanus, South Africa, July 9-12, 2014. © 2015 American Chemical Society. Source

Higgins G.A.,InterVivo Solutions Inc. | Higgins G.A.,University of Toronto | Sellers E.M.,DecisionLine | Fletcher P.J.,Center for Addiction and Mental Health | Fletcher P.J.,University of Toronto
Trends in Pharmacological Sciences | Year: 2013

The recent US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) 5-HT2C receptor agonist lorcaserin for the treatment of obesity represents a new therapeutic drug class available to the clinic. Preclinical evidence supports the potential for this drug class to treat other related conditions such as substance abuse. In the present article we review this evidence and further suggest that overlapping neurobiological systems may contribute to an anti-addictive and anti-obesity profile. The availability of selective 5-HT2C agonists provides an opportunity to evaluate their potential as treatments for nicotine dependence or psychostimulant abuse, conditions for which there is significant medical need but only limited available treatment options. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Allrights reserved. Source

Fletcher P.J.,Center for Addiction and Mental Health | Fletcher P.J.,University of Toronto | Soko A.D.,Center for Addiction and Mental Health | Higgins G.A.,University of Toronto | Higgins G.A.,InterVivo Solutions Inc.
Psychopharmacology | Year: 2013

Rationale: Depletion of brain serotonin (5-HT) results in impulsive behaviour as measured by increased premature responding in the five-choice serial reaction time (5-CSRT) test. Acute selective blockade of 5-HT 2C receptors also increases this form of impulsive action, whereas 5-HT2C receptor stimulation reduces premature responding. Objectives: These experiments determined the impact of genetic disruption of 5-HT 2C receptor function on impulsive responding in the 5-CSRT test. Methods: Food-restricted 5-HT2C receptor null mutant and wild-type (WT) mice were trained on the 5-CSRT test in which subjects detect and correctly respond to brief light stimuli for food reinforcement. Impulsivity is measured as premature responses that occur prior to stimulus presentation. Results: Both lines of mice quickly learned this task, but there were no genotype differences in premature responding or any other aspect of performance. A series of drug challenges were then given. The 5-HT2C receptor agonist Ro60-0175 (0.6 mg/kg) reduced premature responding in WT mice but not mutant mice. The 5-HT2C receptor antagonist SB242084 increased premature responding in WT mice only. Cocaine increased premature responding at 7.5 mg/kg but not at a higher dose that disrupted overall responding; these effects were observed in both lines of mice. Amphetamine (0.25 and 0.5 mg/kg) did not affect premature responding, but disrupted other aspects of performance in both genotypes. Conclusions: Genetic deletion of 5-HT2C receptor function does not induce an impulsive state or exacerbate that state induced by psychomotor stimulants but does prevent the acute effects of 5-HT2C receptor stimulation or blockade on impulsive action. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

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