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Neuropharmacological and neurobiological relevance of in vivo 1H-MRS of GABA and glutamate for preclinical drug discovery in mental disorders


Waschkies, Conny F; Bruns, Andreas; Müller, Stephan; Kapps, Martin; Borroni, Edilio; von Kienlin, Markus; Rudin, Markus; Künnecke, Basil (2014). Neuropharmacological and neurobiological relevance of in vivo 1H-MRS of GABA and glutamate for preclinical drug discovery in mental disorders. Neuropsychopharmacology, 39:2331-2339.

Abstract

Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)) is a translational modality with great appeal for neuroscience since the two major excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters, glutamate, and GABA, can be noninvasively quantified in vivo and have served to explore disease state and effects of drug treatment. Yet, if 1H-MRS shall serve for decision making in preclinical pharmaceutical drug discovery, it has to meet stringent requirements. In particular, 1H-MRS needs to reliably report neurobiologically relevant but rather small changes in neurometabolite levels upon pharmacological interventions and to faithfully appraise target engagement in the associated molecular pathways at pharmacologically relevant doses. Here, we thoroughly addressed these matters with a three-pronged approach. Firstly, we determined the sensitivity and reproducibility of 1H-MRS in rat at 9.4 Tesla for detecting changes in GABA and glutamate levels in the striatum and the prefrontal cortex, respectively. Secondly, we evaluated the neuropharmacological and neurobiological relevance of the MRS readouts by pharmacological interventions with five well-characterized drugs (vigabatrin, 3-mercaptopropionate, tiagabine, methionine sulfoximine, and riluzole), which target key nodes in GABAergic and glutamatergic neurotransmission. Finally, we corroborated the MRS findings with ex vivo biochemical analyses of drug exposure and neurometabolite concentrations. For all five interventions tested, 1H-MRS provided distinct drug dose-effect relationships in GABA and glutamate over preclinically relevant dose ranges and changes as low as 6% in glutamate and 12% in GABA were reliably detected from 16 mm3 volumes-of-interest. Taken together, these findings demonstrate the value and limitation of quantitative 1H-MRS of glutamate and GABA for preclinical pharmaceutical research in mental disorders.

Abstract

Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)) is a translational modality with great appeal for neuroscience since the two major excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters, glutamate, and GABA, can be noninvasively quantified in vivo and have served to explore disease state and effects of drug treatment. Yet, if 1H-MRS shall serve for decision making in preclinical pharmaceutical drug discovery, it has to meet stringent requirements. In particular, 1H-MRS needs to reliably report neurobiologically relevant but rather small changes in neurometabolite levels upon pharmacological interventions and to faithfully appraise target engagement in the associated molecular pathways at pharmacologically relevant doses. Here, we thoroughly addressed these matters with a three-pronged approach. Firstly, we determined the sensitivity and reproducibility of 1H-MRS in rat at 9.4 Tesla for detecting changes in GABA and glutamate levels in the striatum and the prefrontal cortex, respectively. Secondly, we evaluated the neuropharmacological and neurobiological relevance of the MRS readouts by pharmacological interventions with five well-characterized drugs (vigabatrin, 3-mercaptopropionate, tiagabine, methionine sulfoximine, and riluzole), which target key nodes in GABAergic and glutamatergic neurotransmission. Finally, we corroborated the MRS findings with ex vivo biochemical analyses of drug exposure and neurometabolite concentrations. For all five interventions tested, 1H-MRS provided distinct drug dose-effect relationships in GABA and glutamate over preclinically relevant dose ranges and changes as low as 6% in glutamate and 12% in GABA were reliably detected from 16 mm3 volumes-of-interest. Taken together, these findings demonstrate the value and limitation of quantitative 1H-MRS of glutamate and GABA for preclinical pharmaceutical research in mental disorders.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology

04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Engineering
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
170 Ethics
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:03 Oct 2014 12:48
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:23
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:0893-133X
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2014.79

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