Partial agonist therapies for the treatment of nicotine addiction and dependence depend on both agonistic and antagonistic effects of the ligands, and side effects associated with other nAChRs greatly limit the efficacy of nicotinic partial agonists. We evaluated the in vitro pharmacological properties of four partial agonists, two current smoking cessation drugs varenicline and cytisine, and two novel bispidine compounds BPC and BMSP, by using defined nAChR subtypes expressed in Xenopus oocytes and Human Embryonic Kidney 293 cells. Like varenicline and cytisine, BPC and BMSP are partial agonists of α4β2 nAChRs, although BMSP produced very little activation of these receptors. Unlike varenicline and cytisine, BPC and BMSP showed desired low activity. BPC produced mecamylamine-sensitive steady-state activation of α4* receptors that was not evident with BMSP. We evaluated the modulation of α4*- and α7-mediated responses in rat lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) neurons and hippocampal stratum radiatum (SR) interneurons, respectively. The LGN neurons were sensitive to a very low concentration of varenicline, and the SR interneuron responses were also sensitive to varenicline at a submicromolar concentration. While 300 nM BPC strongly inhibited the ACh-evoked responses of LGN neurons, it did not inhibit the α7 currents of SR interneurons. Similar results were observed with 300 nM BMSP. Additionally, the bispidine compounds were efficacious in the mouse tail suspension test, demonstrating that they affect receptors in the brain when delivered systemically. Our data indicate that BPC and BMSP are promising α4β2 * partial agonists for pharmacotherapeutics.
- The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics