European Neuropsychopharmacology (v.13, #4)

Effects of chronic lithium and sodium valproate on concentrations of brain amino acids by T. O’Donnell; S. Rotzinger; M. Ulrich; C.C. Hanstock; T.T. Nakashima; P.H. Silverstone (220-227).
The present study was designed to determine if the mood stabilizers, lithium and valproate, have common effects on concentrations of amino acid neurotransmitters which may be related to their mechanisms of action. Two separate groups of rats were administered therapeutic doses of lithium, sodium valproate, or saline for 2 weeks. Whole brain extracts were then examined using either high-field 1H NMR spectroscopy or HPLC. Both drugs decreased whole brain concentrations of aspartate, glutamate, and taurine while brain concentrations of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and alanine decreased following chronic sodium valproate administration but not following chronic lithium administration. These findings indicate that lithium and sodium valproate share common effects on the concentrations of certain amino acid neurotransmitters in whole brain which may be related to their mechanisms of action in bipolar disorder.
Keywords: Bipolar disorder; Lithium; Valproate; GABA; Glutamate;

Distribution of 5-HT4 receptors in the postmortem human brain—an autoradiographic study using [125I]SB 207710 by Katarina Varnäs; Christer Halldin; Victor W. Pike; Håkan Hall (228-234).
The autoradiographic distribution of the 5-HT4 receptor was described using human postmortem brain sections and the selective radioligand [125I]SB 207710 [(1-n-butyl-4-piperidinyl)methyl-8-amino-7-[125I]iodo-1,4-benzodioxane-5-carboxylate]. The specific binding was highest in regions of the basal ganglia (caudate nucleus, putamen, nucleus accumbens, globus pallidus and substantia nigra) and the hippocampal formation (CA1 and subiculum). In the neocortex, the binding showed a distinct lamination pattern with high levels in superficial layers and a band displaying lower levels in deep cortical layers. The results confirm previous studies on the distribution of 5-HT4 receptors in the human brain in vitro and provide high-resolution correlates for in vivo imaging studies using the radioligand recently developed for single photon emission tomography (SPET), [123I]SB 207710.
Keywords: [125I]SB 207710; 5-HT4 receptors; Human brain; Whole hemisphere autoradiography;

S100B and response to treatment in major depression: a pilot study by Volker Arolt; Marion Peters; Andreas Erfurth; Martin Wiesmann; Ulrich Missler; Sebastian Rudolf; Holger Kirchner; Matthias Rothermundt (235-239).
S100B is a protein which exerts both detrimental and neurotrophic effects, depending on its concentration in brain tissue. An increase of S100B in micromolar concentrations is observed in traumatic brain conditions and is associated with poor outcome. Micromolar levels of extracellular S100B in vitro may have deleterious effects. However, in nanomolar concentrations S100B has multiple neurotrophic effects in vitro may in vivo be regarded as a hallmark of neuroprotective efforts. This pilot study addresses the hypothesis that S100B serum concentrations may be of predictive validity for the response to antidepressant treatment in patients with major depression. S100B plasma levels were determined in 25 patients with major depression and 25 matched healthy controls using an immunofluorimetric sandwich assay. S100B plasma levels were significantly higher in major depressive patients than in healthy controls and positively correlated with treatment response after 4 weeks of treatment. In a linear regression model, a significant predictive effect was found only for S100B and severity of depressive symptoms upon admission. These results suggest that neuroprotective functions of S100B counterbalance neurodegenerative mechanisms that are involved in the pathophysiology of major depression and in the response to antidepressant treatment.
Keywords: Major depression; S100B; Neuroprotection; Neuroplasticity; Response; Antidepressant;

In the present study, the effect of alpha lipoic acid, a potent free radical scavenger, was investigated against the intracerebroventricular streptozotocin model of cognitive impairment in rats, which is characterized by a progressive deterioration of memory, cerebral glucose and energy metabolism, and oxidative stress. Wistar rats were injected with intracerebroventricular streptozotocin bilaterally. The rats were treated chronically with alpha lipoic acid (50, 100 and 200 mg/kg) orally for 21 days starting from day 1 of streptozotocin injection in separate groups. The learning and memory behavior was evaluated and the rats were sacrificed for estimation of oxidative stress. The intracerebroventricular streptozotocin rats treated with alpha lipoic acid (200 mg/kg, p.o.) showed significantly less cognitive impairment as compared to the vehicle treated rats. There was also an insignificant increase in oxidative stress in the alpha lipoic acid treated groups. The study demonstrated the effectiveness of alpha lipoic acid in preventing cognitive impairment and oxidative stress induced by intracerebroventricular streptozotocin and its potential in dementia associated with age and age related neurodegenerative disorders where oxidative stress is involved such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Keywords: Alpha lipoic acid; Intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.); Streptozotocin; Rat; Oxidative stress;

Attenuated stress responsiveness in an animal model for neurodevelopmental psychopathological disorders by Jeroen Terpstra; Christine C Gispen-De Wied; Mark H Broekhoven; Ank C Frankhuijzen; René S Kahn; Jan M van Ree; Victor M Wiegant (249-256).
Day 7 amygdala-lesioned (D7 AMX) rats have been proposed as a model for neurodevelopmental psychopathological disorders such as schizophrenia. Patients with schizophrenia are sensitive to stress and show an impaired hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal response to certain stressful stimuli. Therefore, we investigated neuroendocrine and behavioral stress responses in the D7 AMX lesion model. Plasma concentrations of ACTH, corticosterone, and catecholamines were measured in response to foot shock and novelty in D7 and D21 lesioned (AMX) and non-lesioned (SHAM) animals. Behavior was recorded and analyzed afterwards. D7 AMX rats, unlike other rats, had a reduced ACTH response to foot shock and showed less active behavior in response to novelty. Neurodevelopmental dysfunction of target structures of the amygdala is associated with disturbed endocrine and behavioral responses to stress. These data accord with the notion that the D7 amygdala-lesioned rat can function as a neurodevelopmental model with relevance to schizophrenia.
Keywords: Amygdala; Behavior; HPA; Lesion; Rat; Stress;

The effects of three gonadal steroid antihormones, tamoxifen (TXF, an estrogen antagonist), cyproterone acetate (CYP, an antiandrogen) and mifepristone (MIF, a progesterone antagonist) alone or combined with conventional antiepileptics were evaluated in amygdala-kindled seizures in male and female rats. None of the three antihormones used in this study affected any seizure parameter. TXF (50 mg/kg) and CYP (50 mg/kg), when combined with carbamazepine, or phenobarbital applied at their subprotective doses of 15 mg/kg, resulted in significant reductions of the seizure and afterdischarge durations, both in male and female rats. Additionally, the combination of carbamazepine and CYP markedly increased the afterdischarge threshold in fully-kindled rats of both genders. The interaction between antihormones and carbamazepine, or phenobarbital, was not reversed by respective sex steroid hormones (estradiol, testosterone). However, the TXF- and CYP-induced anticonvulsant effects in combinations with carbamazepine were attenuated by bicuculline, N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) and aminophylline. Kainic acid and strychnine remained ineffective in this respect. The effect of a combination of TXF with phenobarbital was reversed by bicuculline and NMDA and that of CYP with phenobarbital—by bicuculline and aminophylline. Neither TXF nor CYP altered the free plasma concentrations of carbamazepine or phenobarbital, so a pharmacokinetic interaction is not probable. The combined treatment of the two antihormones with antiepileptic drugs did not affect motor performance, and did not result in significant long-term memory deficits. Our data confirm the hypothesis that sex hormone antagonist-mediated events may play some role in seizure processes in the central nervous system and can modulate the protective activity of some conventional antiepileptic drugs against kindled seizures.
Keywords: Tamoxifen; Cyproterone; Mifepristone; Antiepileptic drugs; Amygdala-kindled seizure;

Omega-3 fatty acids in major depressive disorder by Kuan-Pin Su; Shih-Yi Huang; Chih-Chiang Chiu; Winston W. Shen (267-271).
Patients with depression have been extensively reported to be associated with the abnormality of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including significantly low eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid in cell tissue contents (red blood cell membrane, plasma, etc.) and dietary intake. However, more evidence is needed to support its relation. In this study, we conducted an 8-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, comparing omega-3 PUFAs (9.6 g/day) with placebo, on the top of the usual treatment, in 28 patients with major depressive disorder. Patients in the omega-3 PUFA group had a significantly decreased score on the 21-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression than those in the placebo group (P<0.001). From the preliminary findings in this study, omega-3 PUFAs could improve the short-term course of illness and were well tolerated in patients with major depressive disorder.
Keywords: Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; Major depressive disorder; Taiwan; Fish intake; Nutrition therapy; Diet;

Phencyclidine (PCP) has been described to exacerbate psychotic symptoms in patients suffering from schizophrenia. In rats, PCP, dose-dependently, induces hyperactivity, stereotyped behaviour and social isolation, postulated to represent the positive (hyperactivity, stereotypy) and negative (social isolation) symptoms of schizophrenia. Based on previous studies, ibotenic acid lesions in the amygdala on day 7 of life have been proposed as an animal model of psychiatric neurodevelopmental disorders like schizophrenia. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether the responsiveness to PCP on locomotor activity in animals lesioned in the amygdala on day 7 of life is different from the response to this drug in sham-operated animals. The effect of graded doses of PCP on behaviour was assessed in a small open field. Animals lesioned in the amygdala on day 7 of life appeared to be hyperresponsive to PCP compared to sham-operated animals. The hyperresponsiveness to PCP in rats lesioned in the amygdala on day 7 of life further contributes to the validation of this putative animal model of schizophrenia.
Keywords: Animal model; Phencyclidine; Schizophrenia; Amygdala; Locomotor activity; Hypersensitivity;

The effects of intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) and intrathecal (i.t.) 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX), cholera toxin (CTX) and pertussis toxin (PTX) administration on immobilization-induced antinociception were studied in ICR mice. Antinociception was assessed by the tail-flick assay. Immobilization of the mouse increased inhibition of the tail-flick response for at least 1 h. The pretreatment with i.t. IBMX (0.01–1 ng), but not i.c.v. IBMX, significantly attenuated immobilization-induced inhibition of the tail-flick response. The pretreatments with i.c.v. PTX (0.05–0.5 μg) as well as i.t. CTX, but neither i.c.v. CTX (0.05–0.5 μg) nor i.t. PTX, potentiated the inhibition of the tail-flick response induced by immobilization stress. Our results suggest that spinally located phosphodiesterase appears to be involved in the production of immobilization stress-induced antinociception. In addition, inactivation of supraspinally located PTX-sensitive G-proteins and spinally located CTX-sensitive G-proteins may modulate immobilization stress-induced antinociception.
Keywords: Cholera toxin; Pertussis toxin; Isobutylmethylxanthine; Antinociception; Immobilization stress;

The excitatory conditioning model of contextual sensitisation proposes that the progressive emergence of the locomotion-activating effect of cocaine (or any other stimulant drug) characterising that phenomenon is due to a growing conditioned response (the test context cues) that mimics the unchanging unconditioned response (the drug effect). The present study aimed at verifying whether the relationship between the amplitude of sensitisation and the size of the conditioned response was positive, a direct implication of that view. Sensitisation to the locomotion-activating effect of cocaine (10 mg/kg, s.c.) was firstly generated over 10 daily sessions in 25 mice (strain C57Bl/6J), another lot of 25 mice receiving the same dose of cocaine outside of the testing context. Conditioned locomotion was assessed 24 h later. No significant linear correlations were found between the magnitude of the conditioned response and the magnitude of the sensitised response (delta scores), the rate of sensitisation (individual regression coefficients) or the magnitude of the initial unconditioned response to cocaine (scores in the first session of sensitisation treatment). Accordingly, there was no significant correlation between the magnitude of the initial unconditioned response and the magnitude of the sensitised response or that of the initial unconditioned response. Therefore, the conditioned response is neither necessary nor sufficient for the development of context-dependent sensitisation of the locomotion-activating effect of cocaine, a conclusion that refutes the excitatory conditioning model of that chronic effect.
Keywords: Cocaine; Sensitisation; Locomotion; Excitatory conditioning; C57Bl/6J mice;

Conduct disorder: guidelines for investigating efficacy of pharmacological intervention by J.K. Buitelaar; S.A. Montgomery; B.J. van Zwieten-Boot (305-311).