The ability of the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antagonist ketamine to alleviate symptoms in patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is well documented. In this paper, we directly compare in vivo biologic responses in rodents elicited by a recently discovered metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) 2/3 receptor antagonist 2-amino-3-[(3,4-difluorophenyl)sulfanylmethyl]-4-hydroxy-bicyclo[3.1.0]hexane-2,6-dicarboxylic acid (LY3020371) with those produced by ketamine. Both LY3020371 and ketamine increased the number of spontaneously active dopamine cells in the ventral tegmental area of anesthetized rats, increased O2 in the anterior cingulate cortex, promoted wakefulness, enhanced the efflux of biogenic amines in the prefrontal cortex, and produced antidepressant-related behavioral effects in rodent models. The ability of LY3020371 to produce antidepressant-like effects in the forced-swim assay in rats was associated with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drug levels that matched concentrations required for functional antagonist activity in native rat brain tissue preparations. Metabolomic pathway analyses from analytes recovered from rat CSF and hippocampus demonstrated that both LY3020371 and ketamine activated common pathways involving GRIA2 and ADORA1. A diester analog of LY3020371 [bis(((isopropoxycarbonyl)oxy)-methyl) (1S,2R,3S,4S,5R,6R)-2-amino-3-(((3,4-difluorophenyl)thio)methyl)-4-hydroxy-bicyclo[3.1.0]hexane-2,6-dicarboxylate (LY3027788)] was an effective oral prodrug; when given orally, it recapitulated effects of intravenous doses of LY3020371 in the forced-swim and wake-promotion assays, and augmented the antidepressant-like effects of fluoxetine or citalopram without altering plasma or brain levels of these compounds. The broad overlap of biologic responses produced by LY3020371 and ketamine supports the hypothesis that mGlu2/3 receptor blockade might be a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of TRD patients. LY3020371 and LY3027788 represent molecules that are ready for clinical tests of this hypothesis.
- Received October 1, 2016.
- Accepted January 5, 2017.
- Copyright © 2017 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics