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This study examined the chronic effects of aripiprazole and cariprazine on serotonin (5-HT1A and 5-HT2A) and glutamate (NMDA and AMPA) receptor subtypes. In addition, the effects of aripiprazole on D2 and D3 receptors were tested and compared with previously reported cariprazine data.
Rats received vehicle, aripiprazole (2, 5, or 15 mg/kg), or cariprazine (0.06, 0.2, or 0.6 mg/kg) for 28 days. Receptor levels were quantified using autoradiographic assays on brain sections from the medial prefrontal cortex (MPC), dorsolateral frontal cortex (DFC), nucleus accumbens (NAc), caudate-putamen medial (CPu–M), caudate-putamen lateral (CPu–L), hippocampal CA1 (HIPP–CA1) and CA3 (HIPP–CA3) regions, and the entorhinal cortex (EC).
Similar to previous findings with cariprazine, aripiprazole upregulated D2 receptor levels in various regions; D3 receptor changes were less than those reported with cariprazine. All aripiprazole doses and higher cariprazine doses increased 5-HT1A receptors in the MPC and DFC. Higher aripiprazole and all cariprazine doses increased 5-HT1A receptors in HIPP–CA1 and HIPP–CA3. Aripiprazole decreased 5-HT2A receptors in the MPC, DFC, HIPP–CA1, and HIPP–CA3 regions. Both compounds decreased NMDA receptors and increased AMPA receptors in select brain regions.
Long-term administration of aripiprazole and cariprazine had similar effects on 5-HT1A, NMDA, and AMPA receptors. However, cariprazine more profoundly increased D3 receptors while aripiprazole selectively reduced 5-HT2A receptors. These results suggest that the unique actions of cariprazine on dopamine D3 receptors, combined with its effects on serotonin and glutamate receptor subtypes, may confer the clinical benefits, safety, and tolerability of this novel compound in schizophrenia and bipolar mania.
All clinically effective antipsychotics are known to act on the dopaminergic system, and previous studies have demonstrated that repeated treatment with antipsychotics produced region-specific changes in dopamine receptor levels. Cariprazine is a dopamine D3 and D2 receptor partial agonist with preferential binding to D3 receptors. We examined the effects of chronic cariprazine administration on dopamine receptor levels.
Rats were administered either vehicle or cariprazine (0.06, 0.2, or 0.6 mg/kg) for 28 days. Dopamine receptor levels were quantitated using autoradiographic assays on brain tissue sections from the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), nucleus accumbens (NAc), caudate putamen (CPu), hippocampus (HIPP), olfactory tubercle (OT), and islands of Calleja (ICj).
Chronic treatment with cariprazine did not alter D1 receptor levels in any brain region tested. Cariprazine increased D2 receptor levels in mPFC (27%–43%), NAc (40%–45%), medial (41%–53%) and lateral (52%–63%) CPu, and HIPP (38%). Cariprazine dose-dependently upregulated D3 receptor levels in ICj (32%–57%), OT (27%–67%), and NAc shell (31%–48%). Repeated cariprazine treatment increased D4 receptor in NAc (53%–82%), medial (54%–98%) and lateral (58%–74%) CPu, and HIPP (38%–98%).
Similar to other antipsychotics, cariprazine upregulated D2 and D4 receptor levels in various brain regions. Cariprazine was unique among antipsychotics in increasing D3 receptor levels, which may support its unique psychopharmacologic properties.
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