Dopamine D2 and serotonin 5-HT1A receptor interaction in the context of the effects of antipsychotics –in vitrostudies

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The serotonin 5-HT1A receptor (5-HT1AR) and dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) have been implicated as important sites of action in antipsychotics. Several lines of evidence indicate the key role of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) heteromers in pathophysiology of schizophrenia and highlight these complexes as novel drug targets. Because heterodimers can form only on those cells co-expressing constituent receptors, they present a target of high pharmacological specificity in the context of biochemical effects induced by antipsychotic drugs. In studies conducted in the HEK 293 cell line, we demonstrated that 5-HT1AR and D2R are able to form constitutive heterodimers, and antipsychotic drugs (clozapine, olanzapine, aripiprazole, and lurasidone) enhanced this process, with clozapine being most effective. Various functional tests (cAMP and IP1 as well as ERK activation) indicated that the drugs had different effects on signal transduction by the heteromer. Interestingly, co-incubation of heterodimer-expressing HEK 293 cells with clozapine and the 5-HT1AR agonist 8-OH DPAT potentiated post-synaptic effects, especially with respect to ERK activation. Our results indicate that the D2-5-HT1A complex possesses biochemical, pharmacological, and functional properties distinct from those of mono- and homomers. This result has implications for the development of improved pharmacotherapy for schizophrenia or other disorders (activating the heteromer might be cognitive enhancing, since it is expressed in frontal cortex) through the specific targeting of heterodimers.

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