Enhanced neurotensin neurotransmission is involved in the clinically relevant behavioral effects of antipsychotic drugs: Evidence from animal models of sensorimotor gating

Elisabeth B. Binder, Becky Kinkead, Michael J. Owens, Clinton D. Kilts, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Scopus citations


To date, none of the available antipsychotic drugs are curative, all have significant side-effect potential, and a receptor-binding profile predictive of superior therapeutic ability has not been determined. It has become increasingly clear that schizophrenia does not result from the dysfunction of a single neurotransmitter system, but rather from an imbalance between several interacting systems. Targeting neuropeptide neuromodulator systems that concertedly regulate all affected neurotransmitter systems could be a promising novel therapeutic approach for schizophrenia. A considerable database is concordant with the hypothesis that antipsychotic drugs act, at least in part, by increasing the synthesis and release of the neuropeptide neurotensin (NT). In this report, we demonstrate that NT neurotransmission is critically involved in the behavioral effects of antipsychotic drugs in two models of antipsychotic drug activity: disrupted prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle response (PPI) and the latent inhibition (LI) paradigm. Blockade of NT neurotransmission using the NT receptor antagonist 2-[[5-(2,6-dimethoxyphenyl)-1-(4-(N-(3-di-methylaminopropyl)-N-me thylcarbamoyl)-2-isopropylphenyl)-1H-pyrazole-3-carbonyl]-amino]- adamantane-2-carboxylic acid, hydrochloride (SR 142948A) prevented the normal acquisition of LI and haloperidol-induced enhancement of LI. In addition, SR 142948A blocked the PPI-restoring effects of haloperidol and the atypical antipsychotic drug quetiapine in isolation-reared animals deficient in PPI. We also provide evidence of deficient NT neurotransmission as well as a left-shifted antipsychotic drug dose-response curve in isolation-reared rats. These novel findings, together with previous observations, suggest that neurotensin receptor agonists may represent a novel class of antipsychotic drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-608
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2001
Externally publishedYes



  • Haloperidol
  • Isolation rearing
  • Latent inhibition
  • Prepulse inhibition
  • Quetiapine
  • SR 142948A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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