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  • The novel methoxetamine analogs N-ethylnorketamine hydrochloride (NENK), 2-MeO-N-ethylketamine hydrochloride (2-MeO-NEK), and 4-MeO-N-ethylketamine hydrochloride (4-MeO-NEK) elicit rapid antidepressant effects via activation of AMPA and 5-HT2 receptors.

The novel methoxetamine analogs N-ethylnorketamine hydrochloride (NENK), 2-MeO-N-ethylketamine hydrochloride (2-MeO-NEK), and 4-MeO-N-ethylketamine hydrochloride (4-MeO-NEK) elicit rapid antidepressant effects via activation of AMPA and 5-HT2 receptors.

Psychopharmacology (2019-03-21)
Leandro Val Sayson, Chrislean Jun Botanas, Raly James Perez Custodio, Arvie Abiero, Mikyung Kim, Hyun Jun Lee, Hee Jin Kim, Sung Yeun Yoo, Kun Won Lee, Hye Won Ryu, Srijan Acharya, Kyeong-Man Kim, Yong Sup Lee, Jae Hoon Cheong
ABSTRACT

Depressive syndrome or depression is a debilitating brain disorder affecting numerous people worldwide. Although readily available, current antidepressants have low remission rates and late onset times. Recently, N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists, like ketamine and methoxetamine (MXE), were found to elicit rapid antidepressant effects. As the search for glutamatergic-based antidepressants is increasing, we synthesized three novel MXE analogs, N-ethylnorketamine hydrochloride (NENK), 2-MeO-N-ethylketamine hydrochloride (2-MeO-NEK), and 4-MeO-N-ethylketamine hydrochloride (4-MeO-NEK). To determine whether the three novel MXE analogs induce antidepressant effects and explore their mechanistic correlation. We examined their affinity for NMDA receptors through a radioligand binding assay. Mice were treated with each drug (2.5, 5, and 10 mg/kg), and their behavior was assessed 30 min later in the forced swimming test (FST), tail suspension test (TST), elevated plus-maze (EPM) test, and open-field test (OFT). Another group of mice were pretreated with 2,3-dihydroxy-6-nitro-7-sulfamoyl-benzo(f)quinoxaline-2,3-dione (NBQX), an α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor antagonist, or ketanserin (KS), a 5-HT2 receptor antagonist, during the FST. We also measured mRNA levels of the AMPA receptor subunits GluA1 and GluA2, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. The MXE analogs showed affinity to NMDA receptors and decreased immobility time during the FST and TST. NBQX and KS blocked their effects in the FST. The compounds did not induce behavioral alteration during the EPM and OFT. The compounds altered GluA1, GluA2, and BDNF mRNA levels. These results suggest that the novel MXE analogs induce antidepressant effects, which is likely via AMPA and 5-HT2 receptor activation.