Modulation of the PCP/NMDA receptor complex and sigma binding sites by psychostimulants

Yossef Itzhak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The present study was undertaken to determine the role and modulation of the PCP/NMDA receptor complex and sigma binding sites in the central nervous system of animals treated with psychostimulant agents. Repeated exposure of mice to cocaine (45 mg/kg/day; for 7 days) was associated with a progressive increase in convulsive response and lethality rate. The sensitization to the toxic effects of cocaine in mice was completely abolished by pretreatment with either the noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 (0.35 mg/kg/day), or the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor Ng-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (100 mg/kg/day). Parallel in vitro receptor binding assays indicated first, upregulation of cortical NMDA receptors labeled with [3H]CGP 39653, and second, glutamate-dependent sensitization of [3H]MK-801 binding to the PCP site in cortical membranes of the mice treated for 7 days with cocaine. Repeated exposure of rats to methamphetamine (4.0 mg/kg/day; for 10 days) resulted in a significant upregulation of the sigma-1 binding site labeled with (+)[3H]pentazocine in the frontal cortex and substantia nigra. The cocaine-related studies suggest that the PCP/NMDA receptor complex is involved in the development of sensitization to the neurotoxic effects of the drug, such as "pharmacological kindling". The methamphetamine-related studies insinuate a potential role of sigma-1 binding sites in psychostimulant-induced behavioral disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-368
Number of pages6
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994


  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Nitric oxide
  • PCP/NMDA receptor
  • Sensitization
  • Sigma binding sites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Toxicology


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