OPEN Foundation

J. Kristensen

Investigating the role of 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptor activation in the effects of psilocybin, DOI, and citalopram on marble burying in mice

Abstract

Psychedelic drugs acting as 5-hydroxyptryptamine 2A receptor (5-HT2AR) agonists have shown promise as viable treatments of psychiatric disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder. The marble burying test is a test of compulsive-like behavior in mice, and psychedelics acting as 5-HT2AR agonists can reduce digging in this test. We assessed the 5-HT2R contribution to the mechanisms of two 5-HT2A agonists on digging behavior in female NMRI mice, using citalopram as a reference compound. While the 5-HT2AR antagonist M100907 blocked the effect of DOI and the 5-HT2CR antagonist SB242084 blocked the effect of citalopram, neither antagonist blocked the effect of psilocybin. This study confirms 5-HT2AR agonism as a mechanism for reduced compulsive-like digging in the MB test and suggests that 5-HT2A and 5-HT2CRs can work in parallel on this type of behavior. Our results with psilocybin suggest that a 5-HT2R-independent mechanism also contributes to the effect of psilocybin on repetitive digging behavior.

Odland, A. U., Kristensen, J. L., & Andreasen, J. T. (2021). Investigating the role of 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptor activation in the effects of psilocybin, DOI, and citalopram on marble burying in mice. Behavioural brain research, 401, 113093. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2020.113093

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In vivo effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and its deuterated form in rodents: Drug discrimination and thermoregulation.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recent clinical studies support the use of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) as an adjunct treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Despite these promising findings, MDMA administration in controlled settings can increase blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. Previous studies indicate thatO-demethylated metabolites of MDMA contribute to its adverse effects. As such, limiting the conversion of MDMA to reactive metabolites may mitigate some of its adverse effects and potentially improve its safety profile for therapeutic use.

METHODS:

We compared the interoceptive and hyperthermic effects of a deuterium-substituted form of MDMA (d2-MDMA) to MDMA using rodent drug discrimination and biotelemetry procedures, respectively.

RESULTS:

Compared to MDMA, d2-MDMA produced full substitution for a 1.5 mg/kg MDMA training stimulus with equal potency and effectiveness in the drug discrimination experiment. In addition, d2-MDMA produced increases in body temperature that were shorter-lasting and of lower magnitude compared to equivalent doses of MDMA. Last, d2-MDMA and MDMA were equally effective in reversing the hypothermic effects of the selective 5-HT2A/2C antagonist ketanserin.

CONCLUSION:

These findings indicate that deuterium substitution of hydrogen at the methylenedioxy ring moiety does not impact MDMA’s interoceptive effects, and compared to MDMA, d2-MDMA has less potential for producing hyperthermic effects and likely has similar pharmacodynamic properties. Given that d2-MDMA produces less adverse effects than MDMA, but retains similar desirable effects that are thought to relate to the effective treatment of PTSD, additional investigations into its effects on cardiovascular functioning and pharmacokinetic properties are warranted.

Berquist, M. D., Leth-Petersen, S., Kristensen, J. L., & Fantegrossi, W. E. (2020). In vivo effects of 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and its deuterated form in rodents: drug discrimination and thermoregulation. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 107850., 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.107850
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Locomotor effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and its deuterated form in mice: psychostimulant effects, stereotypy, and sensitization

Abstract

Rationale

There is a renewed interest in the use of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) for treating psychiatric conditions. Although MDMA has entered phase II clinical trials and shows promise as an adjunct treatment, there is an extensive literature detailing the potential neurotoxicity and adverse neurobehavioral effects associated with MDMA use. Previous research indicates that the adverse effects of MDMA may be due to its metabolism into reactive catechols that can enter the brain and serve directly as neurotoxicants. One approach to mitigate MDMA’s potential for adverse effects is to reduce O-demethylation by deuterating the methylenedioxy ring of MDMA. There are no studies that have evaluated the effects of deuterating MDMA on behavioral outcomes.

Objectives

The purpose of the present study was to assess the motor-stimulant effects of deuterated MDMA (d2-MDMA) and compare them to MDMA in male mice.

Methods

Two experiments were performed to quantify mouse locomotor activity and to vary the drug administration regimen (single bolus administration or cumulative administration).

Results

The results of Experiments 1 and 2 indicate that d2-MDMA is less effective at eliciting horizontal locomotion than MDMA; however, the differences between the compounds diminish as the number of cumulative administrations increase. Both d2-MDMA and MDMA can elicit sensitized responses, and these effects cross-sensitize to the prototypical drug of abuse methamphetamine. Thus, d2-MDMA functions as a locomotor stimulant similar to MDMA, but, depending on the dosing regimen, may be less susceptible to inducing sensitization to stereotyped movements.

Conclusions

These findings indicate that d2-MDMA is behaviorally active and produces locomotor effects that are similar to MDMA, which warrant additional assessments of d2-MDMA’s behavioral and physiological effects to determine the conditions under which this compound may serve as a relatively safer alternative to MDMA for clinical use.
Berquist, M. D., Leth-Petersen, S., Kristensen, J. L., & Fantegrossi, W. E. (2020). Locomotor effects of 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and its deuterated form in mice: psychostimulant effects, stereotypy, and sensitization. Psychopharmacology237(2), 431-442; https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-019-05380-3

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27 June - Spiritual & Existential Dimensions in Psychedelic Care: Challenges & Insights

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