Methylphenidate Enhances NMDA-Receptor Response in Medial Prefrontal Cortex via Sigma-1 Receptor: A Novel Mechanism for Methylphenidate Action
Methamphetamine and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) are structurally similar and represent a serious and growing health threat. Earlier studies in our laboratory have shown that methamphetamine interacts with sigma receptors and that antagonism of these receptors can attenuate methamphetamine-induced locomotor stimulation and neurotoxicity. However, no research exists which characterizes the interaction between sigma receptors and MDMA. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to determine whether sigma receptors are involved in the actions of MDMA. In the first part of the study, competition and saturation binding assays were performed to measure the interaction of MDMA with sigma receptors. The receptor binding assays revealed that MDMA interacts preferentially with the sigma(1) subtype, as compared to the sigma(2) subtype, and that this interaction occurs in a competitive manner. The second part of the study focused on behavioral measurements in male, Swiss Webster mice to determine whether a selective sigma(1) receptor antagonist, BD1063 (1-[2-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)ethyl]-4-methylpiperazine, 0-30 mg/kg, i.p.) could attenuate the locomotor stimulant actions of MDMA (0-50 mg/kg, i.p.). BD1063 alone had no effect on locomotor activity, but dose-dependently attenuated the locomotor stimulant effects of MDMA and produced a significant shift to the right in the MDMA dose response curve. Together, the data support the functional relevance of the interaction of MDMA with sigma(1) receptors, and suggest that these receptors are involved in the stimulant actions of MDMA.