BEHAVIOURAL BRAIN RESEARCH, vol.397, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)
The majority of schizophrenia patients have cognitive deficits as a separate symptom cluster independent of positive or negative symptoms. Current medicines, unfortunately, cannot provide clear benefits for cognitive symptoms in patients. Recent findings showed decreased alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) expressions in subjects with schizophrenia. alpha 7 nAChR full/partial agonists and positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) may be valuable drug candidates to treat cognitive deficits of disease. This study comparatively investigated the effect of alpha 7 nAChR agonist (A-582941), type I PAM (CCMI), type II PAM (PNU-120596), and the antipsychotic drug (clozapine) on behavioral, molecular, and immunohistochemical parameters in a subchronic MK-801 model of schizophrenia in male rats. Novel object recognition (NOR) and Morris water maze (MWM) tests were performed to evaluate recognition and spatial memories, respectively. Gene and protein expressions of parvalbumin, glutamic acid decarboxylase-67 (GAD67), and alpha 7 nAChR were examined in the rats' hippocampal tissue. The subchronic MK-801 administration produced cognitive deficits in the NOR and MWM tests. It also decreased the protein and gene expressions of parvalbumin, GAD67, and alpha 7 nAChR in the hippocampus. Clozapine, A-582941, and PNU-120596 but not CCMI increased the parvalbumin and alpha 7 nAChR expressions and provided benefits in recognition memory. Interestingly, clozapine and CCMI restored the MK-801 induced deficits on GAD1 expression and spatial memory while A-582941 and PNU-1 20 596 were ineffective. These results indicated that alpha 7 nAChR agonist, type I and type II PAMs may provide benefits in different types of cognitive deficits rather than a complete treatment in schizophrenia.