Group II metabotropic glutamate receptor agonist prodrugs LY2979165 and LY2140023 attenuate the functional imaging response to ketamine in healthy subjects

Mitul A Mehta, Anne Schmechtig, Vasileia Kotoula, Juliet McColm, Kimberley Jackson, Claire Brittain, Sitra Tauscher-Wisniewski, Bruce J Kinon, Paul D Morrison, Thomas Pollak, Timothy Mant, Steven C R Williams, Adam J Schwarz
Psychopharmacology 2018, 235 (7): 1875-1886

BACKGROUND: Aberrant glutamate neurotransmission, and in particular dysfunction of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR), has been implicated in psychiatric disorders and represents a novel therapeutic target. Low-dose administration of the NMDA antagonist ketamine in healthy volunteers elicits a strong blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) imaging signal that can be attenuated by pretreatment with single, therapeutically effective doses of marketed medicines interacting with the glutamate system.

OBJECTIVE: To test the attenuation of the ketamine-induced BOLD signal by pretreatment with either a metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) 2/3 or a mGluR2 agonist in healthy volunteers METHODS: We used a ketamine challenge pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging (phMRI) paradigm to assess the modulatory effects of single acute doses of LY2140023 (pomaglumetad methionil), the methionine prodrug of the mGluR2/3 agonist LY404039 (10, 40, and 160 mg; N = 16 subjects) and of LY2979165, and the alanine prodrug of the selective orthosteric mGluR2 agonist 2812223 (20 and 60 mg; N = 16 subjects).

RESULTS: A reduction in the ketamine-evoked BOLD phMRI signal relative to placebo was observed at the highest doses tested of both LY2140023 and LY2979165. A relationship was observed between reduction of the BOLD signal and increasing plasma levels of 2812223 in the LY2979165 cohort.

CONCLUSIONS: These results identify pharmacologically active doses of the group II mGluR agonist prodrugs LY2140023 and LY2979165 in humans. They also extend the classes of compounds that have been experimentally shown to reverse the ketamine-evoked phMRI signal in humans, further supporting the use of this method as a neuroimaging biomarker for assessing functional effects.

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