Author(s): Matsumoto RR
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Abstract Psychostimulant abuse is a serious health and societal problem in industrialized and developing countries. However, the identification of an effective pharmacotherapy to treat it has remained elusive. It has long been known that many psychostimulant drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine, interact with sigma receptors in the brain and heart, offering a logical target for medication development efforts. However, selective pharmacological agents and molecular biological tools have only recently become available to rigorously evaluate these receptors as viable medication development targets. The current review will summarize provocative preclinical data, demonstrating the ability of sigma receptor antagonists and antisense oligonucleotides to ameliorate cocaine-induced convulsions, lethality, locomotor activity and sensitization, and conditioned place-preference in rodents. Recent studies suggest that the protective effects of sigma receptor antagonists also extend to actions produced by methamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, ethanol and other abused substances. Together, the data indicate that targeting sigma receptors, particularly the σ(1)-subtype, may offer an innovative approach for combating the effects of cocaine, and perhaps other abused substances.
This article was published in Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol
and referenced in Medicinal Chemistry