A daily single dose of a novel modafinil analogue CE-123 improves memory acquisition and memory retrieval

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Dopamine reuptake inhibitors have been shown to improve cognitive parameters in various tasks and animal models. We recently reported a series of modafinil analogues, of which the most promising, 5-((benzhydrylsulfinyl)methyl) thiazole (CE-123), was selected for further development. The present study aims to characterize pharmacological properties of CE-123 and to investigate the potential to enhance memory performance in a rat model. In vitro transporter assays were performed in cells expressing human transporters. CE-123 blocked uptake of [3H] dopamine (IC50=4.606μM) while effects on serotonin (SERT) and the norepinephrine transporter (NET) were negligible. Blood-brain barrier and pharmacokinetic studies showed that the compound reached the brain and lower elimination than R-modafinil. The Pro-cognitive effect was evaluated in a spatial hole-board task in male Sprague-Dawley rats and CE-123 enhances memory acquisition and memory retrieval, represented by significantly increased reference memory indices and shortened latency. Since DAT blockers can be considered as indirect dopamine receptor agonists, western blotting was used to quantify protein levels of dopamine receptors D1R, D2R and D5R and DAT in the synaptosomal fraction of hippocampal subregions CA1, CA3 and dentate gyrus (DG). CE-123 administration in rats increased total DAT levels and D1R protein levels were significantly increased in CA1 and CA3 in treated/trained groups. The increase of D5R was observed in DG only. Dopamine receptors, particularly D1R, seem to play a role in mediating CE-123-induced memory enhancement. Dopamine reuptake inhibition by CE-123 may represent a novel and improved stimulant therapeutic for impairments of cognitive functions.

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