Preclinical predictors that the orthosteric mGlu2/3 receptor antagonist LY3020371 will not engender ketamine-associated neurotoxic, motor, cognitive, subjective, or abuse-liability-related effects

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The novel mGlu2/3 receptor antagonist, LY3020371, has been shown to produce antidepressant-like effects comparable to that of the clinically-effective antidepressant ketamine. In the present study, we investigated whether LY3020371 would be predicted to be free of the side-effects and safety pharmacology issues associated with ketamine. In contrast to ketamine, LY3020371 produced small increases in locomotion and did not impair motor performance on an inverted screen. Ketamine, but not LY3020371, increased dopamine efflux in the nucleus accumbens of rats. Ketamine also produced cognitively-impairing effects in rats in a T-maze and in a psychomotor vigilance task and altered theta synchrony between the hippocampus and mPFC, whereas LY3020371 had either no significant impact or lesser effects in these assays. In mice, ketamine, but not LY3020371, negatively affected spontaneous alternation in a Y-maze. Rats were trained to discriminate LY3020371 from vehicle where 30 mg/kg produced 100% drug-appropriate responding and the ED50 for LY3020371 was 9.4 mg/kg, i.p. In rats discriminating LY3020371, neither d-amphetamine nor phencyclidine fully substituted for LY3020371 (35–45%) and the mGlu2/3 receptor agonist LY354740 partially attenuated the discriminative stimulus effects of LY3020371. These are the first data to demonstrate the discriminative stimulus effects of an mGlu2/3 receptor antagonist. Some alterations were suggested to occur in the density of mGlu2/3 receptor binding sites in the drug discrimination rats relative to their age-matched non-drug-exposed controls. In preclinical toxicology studies of 14 day dosing of doses up to 1000 mg/kg, i.v. in rats and up to 500 m/kg, i.v. in Cynomologous monkeys, LY3020371 produced uM plasma exposures without producing critical toxicological findings. It is concluded that LY3020371 does not recapitulate the motor, cognitive, subjective, neurochemical, electrophysiological, or toxicological findings reported with ketamine. Thus, LY3020371 possesses both the efficacy signatures of a rapidly-acting antidepressant and a safety profile enabling proof of concept studies in patients.

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