• Activation of α7 nicotinic receptors improves phencyclidine-induced deficits in cognitive tasks in rats: Implications for therapy of cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia

      McLean, Samantha L.; Grayson, Ben; Idris, Nagi F.; Lesage, A.S.; Pemberton, D.J.; Mackie, C.; Neill, Joanna C. (2011-04)
      Rationale: Nicotinic α7 acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) have been highlighted as a target for cognitive enhancement in schizophrenia. Aim: To investigate whether the deficits induced by sub-chronic phencyclidine (PCP) in reversal learning and novel object recognition could be attenuated by the selective α7 nAChR full agonist, PNU-282987. Methods: Adult female hooded-Lister rats received sub-chronic PCP (2 mg/kg) or vehicle i.p. twice daily for seven days, followed by 7-days washout. In cohort 1, PCP-treated rats then received PNU-282987 (5, 10, 20 mg/kg; s.c.) or vehicle and were tested in the reversal learning task. In cohort 2, PCP-treated rats received PNU-282987 (10 mg/kg; s.c.) or saline for 15 days and were tested in the novel object recognition test on day 1 and on day 15, to test for tolerance. Results: Sub-chronic PCP produced significant deficits in both cognitive tasks (P<0.01-0.001). PNU-282987 attenuated the PCP-induced deficits in reversal learning at 10 mg/kg (P<0.01) and 20 mg/kg (P<0.001), and in novel object recognition at 10 mg/kg on day 1 (P<0.01) and on day 15 (P<0.001). Conclusions: These data show that PNU-282987 has efficacy to reverse PCP-induced deficits in two paradigms of relevance to schizophrenia. Results further suggest that 15 day daily dosing of PNU-282987 (10 mg/kg s.c.) does not cause tolerance in rat. This study suggests that activation of α7 nAChRs, may represent a suitable strategy for improving cognitive deficits of relevance to schizophrenia.
    • Animal models of cognitive dysfunction and negative symptoms of schizophrenia: focus on NMDA receptor antagonism

      Neill, Joanna C.; Barnes, Samuel; Cook, Samantha; Grayson, Ben; Idris, Nagi F.; McLean, Samantha L.; Snigdha, S.; Rajagopal, Lakshmi; Harte, Michael K. (2010-12)
      Cognitive deficits in schizophrenia remain an unmet clinical need. Improved understanding of the neuro- and psychopathology of these deficits depends on the availability of carefully validated animal models which will assist the development of novel therapies. There is much evidence that at least some of the pathology and symptomatology (particularly cognitive and negative symptoms) of schizophrenia results from a dysfunction of the glutamatergic system which may be modelled in animals through the use of NMDA receptor antagonists. The current review examines the validity of this model in rodents. We review the ability of acute and sub-chronic treatment with three non-competitive NMDA antagonists; phencyclidine (PCP), ketamine and MK801 (dizocilpine) to produce cognitive deficits of relevance to schizophrenia in rodents and their subsequent reversal by first- and second-generation antipsychotic drugs. Effects of NMDA receptor antagonists on the performance of rodents in behavioural tests assessing the various domains of cognition and negative symptoms are examined: novel object recognition for visual memory, reversal learning and attentional set shifting for problem solving and reasoning, 5-Choice Serial Reaction Time for attention and speed of processing; in addition to effects on social behaviour and neuropathology. The evidence strongly supports the use of NMDA receptor antagonists to model cognitive deficit and negative symptoms of schizophrenia as well as certain pathological disturbances seen in the illness. This will facilitate the evaluation of much-needed novel pharmacological agents for improved therapy of cognitive deficits and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.
    • D1-like receptor activation improves PCP-induced cognitive deficits in animal models: Implications for mechanisms of improved cognitive function in schizophrenia

      McLean, Samantha L.; Idris, Nagi F.; Woolley, M.L.; Neill, Joanna C. (2009-06)
      Phencyclidine (PCP) produces cognitive deficits of relevance to schizophrenia in animal models. The aim was to investigate the efficacy of the D1-like receptor agonist, SKF-38393, to improve PCPinduced deficits in the novel object recognition (NOR) and operant reversal learning (RL) tasks. Rats received either sub-chronic PCP (2 mg/kg) or vehicle for 7 days, followed by a 7-day washout. Rats were either tested in NOR or the RL tasks. In NOR, vehicle rats successfully discriminated between novel and familiar objects, an effect abolished in PCP-treated rats. SKF-38393 (6 mg/kg) significantly ameliorated the PCP-induced deficit (Pb0.01) an effect significantly antagonised by SCH-23390 (0.05 mg/kg), a D1-like receptor antagonist (Pb0.01). In the RL task sub-chronic PCP significantly reduced performance in the reversal phase (Pb0.001); SKF-38393 (6.0 mg/kg) improved this PCPinduced deficit, an effect antagonised by SCH-23390 (Pb0.05). These results suggest a role for D1-like receptors in improvement of cognitive function in paradigms of relevance to schizophrenia.
    • Effects of asenapine, olanzapine, and risperidone on psychotomimetic-induced reversal-learning deficits in the rat

      McLean, Samantha L.; Neill, Joanna C.; Idris, Nagi F.; Marston, H.M.; Wong, E.H.F.; Shahid, M. (2010-12-25)
      Background: Asenapine is a new pharmacological agent for the acute treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It has relatively higher affinity for serotonergic and α2-adrenergic than dopaminergic D2 receptors. We evaluated the effects of asenapine, risperidone, and olanzapine on acute and subchronic psychotomimetic-induced disruption of cued reversal learning in rats. Methods: After operant training, rats were treated acutely with D-amphetamine (0.75 mg/kg intraperitoneally [i.p.]) or phencyclidine (PCP; 1.5 mg/kg i.p.) or sub-chronically with PCP (2 mg/kg i.p. for 7 days). We assessed the effects of acute coadministration of asenapine, risperidone, or olanzapine on acute D-amphetamine– and PCP-induced deficits and the effects of long-term coadministration of these agents (for 28 additional days) on the deficits induced by subchronic PCP. Results: Deficits in reversal learning induced by acute D-amphetamine were attenuated by risperidone (0.2 mg/kg i.p.). Acute PCP-induced impairment of reversal learning was attenuated by acute asenapine (0.025 mg/kg subcutaneously [s.c.]), risperidone (0.2 mg/kg i.p.), and olanzapine (1.0 mg/kg i.p.). Subchronic PCP administration induced an enduring deficit that was attenuated by acute asenapine (0.075 mg/kg s.c.) and by olanzapine (1.5 mg/kg i.p.). Asenapine (0.075 mg/kg s.c.), risperidone (0.2 mg/kg i.p.), and olanzapine (1.0 mg/kg i.p.) all showed sustained efficacy with chronic (29 d) treatment to improve subchronic PCP-induced impairments. Conclusion: These data suggest that asenapine may have beneficial effects in the treatment of cognitive symptoms in schizophrenia. However, this remains to be validated by further clinical evaluation.
    • Investigation of the effects of lamotrigine and clozapine in improving reversal-learning impairments induced by acute phencyclidine and D-amphetamine in the rat.

      Idris, Nagi F.; Repeto, P.; Neill, Joanna C.; Large, C.H. (Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, 2005)
      Rationale Phencyclidine (PCP), a glutamate/N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, has been shown to induce a range of symptoms similar to those of patients with schizophrenia, while d-amphetamine induces predominantly positive symptoms. Previous studies in our laboratory have shown that PCP can selectively impair the performance of an operant reversal-learning task in the rat. Furthermore, we found that the novel antipsychotic ziprasidone, but not the classical antipsychotic haloperidol, could prevent the PCP-induced deficit. Objectives The aim of the present study was to validate the model further using the atypical antipsychotic clozapine and then to investigate the effects of lamotrigine, a broad-spectrum anticonvulsant that is known to reduce glutamate release in vitro and is able to prevent ketamine-induced psychotic symptoms in healthy human volunteers. A further aim was to compare effects of PCP and d-amphetamine in the test and investigate the effects of the typical antipsychotic haloperidol against the latter. Methods Female hooded-Lister rats were food deprived and trained to respond for food in a reversal-learning paradigm. Results PCP at 1.5 mg/kg and 2.0 mg/kg and d-amphetamine at 0.5 mg/kg significantly and selectively impaired performance in the reversal phase of the task. The cognitive deficit induced by 1.5 mg/kg PCP was attenuated by prior administration of lamotrigine (20 mg/kg and 30 mg/kg) or clozapine (5 mg/kg), but not haloperidol (0.05 mg/kg). In direct contrast, haloperidol (0.05 mg/kg), but not lamotrigine (25 mg/kg) or clozapine (5 mg/kg), prevented a similar cognitive impairment produced by d-amphetamine (0.5 mg/kg). Conclusions Our findings provide further data to support the use of PCP-induced disruption of reversal learning in rodents to investigate novel antipsychotic drugs. The results also provide evidence for different mechanisms of PCP and d-amphetamine-induced disruption of performance in the test, and their different sensitivities to typical and atypical antipsychotic drugs.
    • PNU-120596, a positive allosteric modulator of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, reverses a sub-chronic phencyclidineinduced cognitive deficit in the attentional set-shifting task in female rats

      McLean, Samantha L.; Idris, Nagi F.; Grayson, Ben; Gendle, D.F.; Mackie, C.; Lesage, A.S.; Pemberton, D.J.; Neill, Joanna C. (2012-09)
      The α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) have been highlighted as a target for cognitive enhancement in schizophrenia. Adult female hooded Lister rats received sub-chronic phencyclidine (PCP) (2mg/kg) or vehicle i.p. twice daily for 7 days, followed by 7 days’ washout. PCP-treated rats then received PNU-120596 (10mg/kg; s.c.) or saline and were tested in the attentional set-shifting task. Sub-chronic PCP produced a significant cognitive deficit in the extra-dimensional shift (EDS) phase of the task (p < 0.001, compared with vehicle). PNU-120596 significantly improved performance of PCP-treated rats in the EDS phase of the attentional set-shifting task (p < 0.001). In conclusion, these data demonstrate that PNU-120596 improves cognitive dysfunction in our animal model of cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia, most likely via modulation of α7 nACh receptors.