Author: Michael A. Ruderman
Institution: Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, University of California, San Diego; Department of Psychology and Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz
Date: July 2009
Sensorimortor gating and locomotion are behaviors that reflect pre-attentive sensory filtering and higher order, top-down, sensory processing, respectively. These processes are thought to affect either the perception of novelty in an environment (filtering) or cognition (higher order processing), salient features of models of altered states of consciousness (ASC). Drugs with highly selective receptor affinities that produce ASC can help to establish neural correlates, pathways, and mechanisms underlying ASC. Furthermore, screening for substances that selectively reverse drug-induced sensory processing departures is valuable for development of experimental antipsychotics. This study investigated the anomalous opioid sub-type, the kappa opioid (KA) system, within the two ASC models. Significant interaction and reversal effects between KA and the serotonin/2A (5-HT2A) system – the serotonin sub-type associated with classical psychedelics – were observed in three BPM measures. These measures showed that KA activation-induced effects could be reversed by 5-HT2A deactivation. These results suggest that KA could function as an atypical antipsychotic medications and/or as a screening tool for new antipsychotic medicines. The experimental work for this study comprised dose-response and reversal experiments with drugs that activate and deactivate kappa opioid and serotonin systems in the two behavioral models for the first time in mice.