Sigma (σ) receptors have generated a great deal of interest due to their possible role in psychosis, neuroprotection, and various other behaviors including addictive processes. Sigma receptors have been located in brain areas involved in motor functions, including the dopaminergic projections from the substantia nigra to the striatum. Evidence suggests that one of their major roles might be to regulate the activity of the glutamatergic system via the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor. The sigma receptor agonist 1,3-di-o-tolyl-guanidine (DTG) was found to increase dopamine release in the striatum, nucleus accumbens, and prefrontal cortex, in a dose-dependent manner, after central as well as peripheral administration, suggesting a modulatory role of these receptors on the dopaminergic system. The present study examines whether chronic administration of the DTG sigma agonist induces neuromorphological and behavioral changes in neonatal ventral hippocampal lesioned (nVHL) rats as a neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia. The results show that the DTG administration reduces the hyperlocomotor activity in nVHL rats and reverses the neuronal hypotrophy generated in nVHL rats in the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and nucleus accumbens. Our results demonstrate that DTG, a sigma-1 receptor agonist, reverses some of the behavioral and neuromorphological effects of nVHL on the rat and supports the possibility that DTG may have beneficial effects in the management of symptoms of schizophrenia. Synapse, 69:213–225, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Neonatal ventral hippocampal lesion is a neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia. We evaluated the effect of the sigma receptor agonist 1,3-di-o-tolyl-guanidine (DTG) on neural-morphological and behavioral changes exhibited in the neonatal ventral hippocampal lesion animals. The DTG ameliorate the behavioral and morphological alteration observed in this animal model of schizophrenia.