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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Prototypical antipsychotic drugs protect hippocampal neuronal cultures against cell death induced by growth medium deprivation

Stéphane Bastianetto, Marc Danik, Françoise Mennicken, Sylvain Williams and Rémi Quirion*

Author Affiliations

Douglas Hospital Research Centre, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, 6875 LaSalle Boulevard, Montreal, Québec, H4H 1R3, Canada

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BMC Neuroscience 2006, 7:28  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-7-28

Published: 30 March 2006

Abstract

Background

Several clinical studies suggested that antipsychotic-based medications could ameliorate cognitive functions impaired in certain schizophrenic patients. Accordingly, we investigated the effects of various dopaminergic receptor antagonists – including atypical antipsychotics that are prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia – in a model of toxicity using cultured hippocampal neurons, the hippocampus being a region of particular relevance to cognition.

Results

Hippocampal cell death induced by deprivation of growth medium constituents was strongly blocked by drugs including antipsychotics (10-10-10-6 M) that display nM affinities for D2 and/or D4 receptors (clozapine, haloperidol, (±)-sulpiride, domperidone, clozapine, risperidone, chlorpromazine, (+)-butaclamol and L-741,742). These effects were shared by some caspases inhibitors and were not accompanied by inhibition of reactive oxygen species. In contrast, (-)-raclopride and remoxipride, two drugs that preferentially bind D2 over D4 receptors were ineffective, as well as the selective D3 receptor antagonist U 99194. Interestingly, (-)-raclopride (10-6 M) was able to block the neuroprotective effect of the atypical antipsychotic clozapine (10-6 M).

Conclusion

Taken together, these data suggest that D2-like receptors, particularly the D4 subtype, mediate the neuroprotective effects of antipsychotic drugs possibly through a ROS-independent, caspase-dependent mechanism.