Unique signaling profiles of positive allosteric modulators of metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 determine differences in in vivo activity.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGlu5) activators have emerged as a novel approach to the treatment of schizophrenia. Positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of mGlu5 have generated tremendous excitement and fueled major drug discovery efforts. Although mGlu5 PAMs have robust efficacy in preclinical models of schizophrenia, preliminary reports suggest that these compounds may induce seizure activity. Prototypical mGlu5 PAMs do not activate mGlu5 directly but selectively potentiate activation of mGlu5 by glutamate. This mechanism may be critical to maintaining normal activity-dependence of mGlu5 activation and achieving optimal in vivo effects. METHODS:Using specially engineered mGlu5 cell lines incorporating point mutations within the allosteric and orthosteric binding sites, as well as brain slice electrophysiology and in vivo electroencephalography and behavioral pharmacology, we found that some mGlu5 PAMs have intrinsic allosteric agonist activity in the absence of glutamate. RESULTS:Both in vitro mutagenesis and in vivo pharmacology studies demonstrate that VU0422465 is an agonist PAM that induces epileptiform activity and behavioral convulsions in rodents. In contrast, VU0361747, an mGlu5 PAMs optimized to eliminate allosteric agonist activity, has robust in vivo efficacy and does not induce adverse effects at doses that yield high brain concentrations. CONCLUSIONS:Loss of the absolute dependence of mGlu5 PAMs on glutamate release for their activity can lead to severe adverse effects. The finding that closely related mGlu5 PAMs can differ in their intrinsic agonist activity provides critical new insights that is essential for advancing these molecules through clinical development for treatment of schizophrenia.
Project description:Activation of metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGlu5) represents a novel strategy for therapeutic intervention into multiple central nervous system disorders, including schizophrenia. Recently, a number of positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of mGlu5 were discovered to exhibit in vivo efficacy in rodent models of psychosis, including PAMs possessing varying degrees of agonist activity (ago-PAMs), as well as PAMs devoid of agonist activity. However, previous studies revealed that ago-PAMs can induce seizure activity and behavioral convulsions, whereas pure mGlu5 PAMs do not induce these adverse effects. We recently identified a potent and selective mGlu5 PAM, VU0403602, that was efficacious in reversing amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion in rats. The compound also induced time-dependent seizure activity that was blocked by coadministration of the mGlu5 antagonist, 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl) pyridine. Consistent with potential adverse effects induced by ago-PAMs, we found that VU0403602 had significant allosteric agonist activity. Interestingly, inhibition of VU0403602 metabolism in vivo by a pan cytochrome P450 (P450) inactivator completely protected rats from induction of seizures. P450-mediated biotransformation of VU0403602 was discovered to produce another potent ago-PAM metabolite-ligand (M1) of mGlu5. Electrophysiological studies in rat hippocampal slices confirmed agonist activity of both M1 and VU0403602 and revealed that M1 can induce epileptiform activity in a manner consistent with its proconvulsant behavioral effects. Furthermore, unbound brain exposure of M1 was similar to that of the parent compound, VU0403602. These findings indicate that biotransformation of mGlu5 PAMs to active metabolite-ligands may contribute to the epileptogenesis observed after in vivo administration of this class of allosteric receptor modulators.
Project description:Positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) represent a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of schizophrenia. Both allosteric agonism and high glutamate fold-shift have been implicated in the neurotoxic profile of some mGlu5 PAMs; however, these hypotheses remain to be adequately addressed. To develop tool compounds to probe these hypotheses, the structure-activity relationship of allosteric agonism was examined within an acetylenic series of mGlu5 PAMs exhibiting allosteric agonism in addition to positive allosteric modulation (ago-PAMs). PAM 38t, a low glutamate fold-shift allosteric ligand (maximum fold-shift ~ 3.0), was selected as a potent PAM with no agonism in the in vitro system used for compound characterization and in two native electrophysiological systems using rat hippocampal slices. PAM 38t (ML254) will be useful to probe the relative contribution of cooperativity and allosteric agonism to the adverse effect liability and neurotoxicity associated with this class of mGlu5 PAMs.
Project description:Allosteric modulators, that exhibit no intrinsic agonist activity, offer the advantage of spatial and temporal fine-tuning of endogenous agonist activity, allowing the potential for increased selectivity, reduced adverse effects and improved clinical outcomes. Some allosteric ligands can differentially activate and/or modulate distinct signaling pathways arising from the same receptor, phenomena referred to as 'biased agonism' and 'biased modulation'. Emerging evidence for CNS disorders with glutamatergic dysfunction suggests the metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGlu5) is a promising target. Current mGlu5 allosteric modulators have largely been classified based on modulation of intracellular calcium (iCa2+) responses to orthosteric agonists alone. We assessed eight mGlu5 allosteric modulators previously classified as mGlu5 PAMs or PAM-agonists representing four distinct chemotypes across multiple measures of receptor activity, to explore their potential for engendering biased agonism and/or modulation. Relative to the reference orthosteric agonist, DHPG, the eight allosteric ligands exhibited distinct biased agonism fingerprints for iCa2+ mobilization, IP1 accumulation and ERK1/2 phosphorylation in HEK293A cells stably expressing mGlu5 and in cortical neuron cultures. VU0424465, DPFE and VU0409551 displayed the most disparate biased signaling fingerprints in both HEK293A cells and cortical neurons that may account for the marked differences observed previously for these ligands in vivo. Select mGlu5 allosteric ligands also showed 'probe dependence' with respect to their cooperativity with different orthosteric agonists, as well as biased modulation for the magnitude of positive cooperativity observed. Unappreciated biased agonism and modulation may contribute to unanticipated effects (both therapeutic and adverse) when translating from recombinant systems to preclinical models. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors, 5 years on'.
Project description:Schizophrenia is associated with disruptions in N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptor subtype (NMDAR)-mediated excitatory synaptic signaling. The metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGlu5) is a closely associated signaling partner with NMDARs and regulates NMDAR function in forebrain regions implicated in the pathology of schizophrenia. Efficacy of mGlu5 positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) in animal models of psychosis and cognition was previously attributed to potentiation of NMDAR function. To directly test this hypothesis, we identified VU0409551 as a novel mGlu5 PAM that exhibits distinct stimulus bias and selectively potentiates mGlu5 coupling to G?q-mediated signaling but not mGlu5 modulation of NMDAR currents or NMDAR-dependent synaptic plasticity in the rat hippocampus. Interestingly, VU0409551 produced robust antipsychotic-like and cognition-enhancing activity in animal models. These data provide surprising new mechanistic insights into the actions of mGlu5 PAMs and suggest that modulation of NMDAR currents is not critical for in vivo efficacy. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
Project description:Impaired transmission through glutamatergic circuits has been postulated to play a role in the underlying pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Furthermore, inhibition of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) subtype of ionotropic glutamate receptors (NMDAR) induces a syndrome that recapitulates many of the symptoms observed in patients with schizophrenia. Selective activation of metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGlu5) may provide a novel therapeutic approach for treatment of symptoms associated with schizophrenia through facilitation of transmission through central glutamatergic circuits. Here, we describe the characterization of two novel N-aryl piperazine mGlu5 positive allosteric modulators (PAMs): 2-(4-(2-(benzyloxy)acetyl)piperazin-1-yl)benzonitrile (VU0364289) and 1-(4-(2,4-difluorophenyl)piperazin-1-yl)-2-((4-fluorobenzyl)oxy)ethanone (DPFE). VU0364289 and DPFE induced robust leftward shifts in the glutamate concentration-response curves for Ca(2+) mobilization and extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 phosphorylation. Both PAMs displayed micromolar affinity for the common mGlu5 allosteric binding site and high selectivity for mGlu5. VU0364289 and DPFE possessed suitable pharmacokinetic properties for dosing in vivo and produced robust dose-related effects in reversing amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion, a preclinical model predictive of antipsychotic-like activity. In addition, DPFE enhanced acquisition of contextual fear conditioning in rats and reversed behavioral deficits in a mouse model of NMDAR hypofunction. In contrast, DPFE had no effect on reversing apomorphine-induced disruptions of prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle reflex. These mGlu5 PAMs also increased monoamine levels in the prefrontal cortex, enhanced performance in a hippocampal-mediated memory task, and elicited changes in electroencephalogram dynamics commensurate with procognitive effects. Collectively, these data support and extend the role for the development of novel mGlu5 PAMs for the treatment of psychosis and cognitive deficits observed in individuals with schizophrenia.
Project description:Allosteric modulation of GPCRs represents an increasingly explored approach in drug development. Due to complex pharmacology, however, the relationship(s) between modulator properties determined in vitro with in vivo concentration-effect phenomena is frequently unclear. We investigated key pharmacological properties of a set of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) and their relevance to in vivo concentration-response relationships. These studies identified a significant relationship between in vitro PAM cooperativity (??), as well as the maximal response obtained from a simple in vitro PAM concentration-response experiment, with in vivo efficacy for reversal of amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion. This correlation did not exist with PAM potency or affinity. Data across PAMs were then converged to calculate an in vivo concentration of glutamate putatively relevant to the mGlu5 PAM mechanism of action. This work demonstrates the ability to merge in vitro pharmacology profiles with relevant behavioral outcomes and also provides a novel method to estimate neurotransmitter concentrations in vivo.
Project description:Positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) represent a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of schizophrenia. Starting from an acetylene-based lead from high throughput screening, an evolved bicyclic dihydronaphthyridinone was identified. We describe further refinements leading to both dihydronaphthyridinone and tetrahydronaphthyridine mGlu5 PAMs containing an alkoxy-based linkage as an acetylene replacement. Exploration of several structural features including western pyridine ring isomers, positional amides, linker connectivity/position, and combinations thereof, reveal that these bicyclic modulators generally exhibit steep SAR and within specific subseries display a propensity for pharmacological mode switching at mGlu5 as well as antagonist activity at mGlu3. Structure-activity relationships within a dihydronaphthyridinone subseries uncovered 12c (VU0405372), a selective mGlu5 PAM with good in vitro potency, low glutamate fold-shift, acceptable DMPK properties, and in vivo efficacy in an amphetamine-based model of psychosis.
Project description:Positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGlu(5)) have emerged as an exciting new approach for the treatment of schizophrenia and other central nervous system (CNS) disorders. Of interest, some mGlu(5) PAMs act as pure PAMs, only potentiating mGlu(5) responses to glutamate whereas others [allosteric agonists coupled with PAM activity (ago-PAMs)] potentiate responses to glutamate and have intrinsic allosteric agonist activity in mGlu(5)-expressing cell lines. All mGlu(5) PAMs previously shown to have efficacy in animal models act as ago-PAMs in cell lines, raising the possibility that allosteric agonist activity is critical for in vivo efficacy. We have now optimized novel mGlu(5) pure PAMs that are devoid of detectable agonist activity and structurally related mGlu(5) ago-PAMs that activate mGlu(5) alone in cell lines. Studies of mGlu(5) PAMs in cell lines revealed that ago-PAM activity is dependent on levels of mGlu(5) receptor expression in human embryonic kidney 293 cells, whereas PAM potency is relatively unaffected by levels of receptor expression. Furthermore, ago-PAMs have no agonist activity in the native systems tested, including cortical astrocytes and subthalamic nucleus neurons and in measures of long-term depression at the hippocampal Schaffer collateral-CA1 synapse. Finally, studies with pure PAMs and ago-PAMs chemically optimized to provide comparable CNS exposure revealed that both classes of mGlu(5) PAMs have similar efficacy in a rodent model predictive of antipsychotic activity. These data suggest that the level of receptor expression influences the ability of mGlu(5) PAMs to act as allosteric agonists in vitro and that ago-PAM activity observed in cell-based assays may not be important for in vivo efficacy.
Project description:Herein, we report the structure-activity relationship of a novel series of (2(phenoxymethyl)-6,7-dihydrooxazolo[5,4-c]pyridine-5(4H)-yl(aryl)methanones as potent, selective, and orally bioavailable metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGlu5) positive allosteric modulators (PAMs). On the basis of its robust in vitro potency and in vivo efficacy in multiple preclinical models of multiple domains of schizophrenia, coupled with a good DMPK profile and an acceptable therapeutic window, 17a (VU0409551/JNJ-46778212) was selected as a candidate for further development.
Project description:Metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) is a target for the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) disorders, such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. Furthermore, mGlu5 has been shown to play an important role in hippocampal synaptic plasticity, specifically in long-term depression (LTD) and long-term potentiation (LTP), which is thought to be involved in cognition. Multiple mGlu5-positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) have been developed from a variety of different scaffolds. Previous work has extensively characterized a common allosteric site on mGlu5, termed the MPEP (2-Methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)pyridine) binding site. However, one mGlu5 PAM, CPPHA (N-(4-chloro-2-[(1,3-dioxo-1,3-dihydro-2H-isoindol-2-yl)methyl]phenyl)-2-hydroxybenzamide), interacts with a separate allosteric site on mGlu5. Using cell-based assays and brain slice preparations, we characterized the interaction of a potent and efficacious mGlu5 PAM from the CPPHA series termed NCFP (N-(4-chloro-2-((4-fluoro-1,3-dioxoisoindolin-2-yl)methyl)phenyl)picolinamide). NCFP binds to the CPPHA site on mGlu5 and potentiates mGlu5-mediated responses in both recombinant and native systems. However, NCFP provides greater mGlu5 subtype selectivity than does CPPHA, making it more suitable for studies of effects on mGlu5 in CNS preparations. Of interest, NCFP does not potentiate responses involved in hippocampal synaptic plasticity (LTD/LTP), setting it apart from other previously characterized MPEP site PAMs. This suggests that although mGlu5 PAMs may have similar responses in some systems, they can induce differential effects on mGlu5-mediated physiologic responses in the CNS. Such stimulus bias by mGlu5 PAMs may complicate drug discovery efforts but would also allow for specifically tailored therapies, if pharmacological biases can be attributed to different therapeutic outcomes.