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Haloperidol-induced striatal Nur77 expression in a non-human primate model of tardive dyskinesia

Authors

  • Souha Mahmoudi,

    1. Faculty of Pharmacy, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Pierre J. Blanchet,

    1. Department of Stomatology, Faculty of Dentistry, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
    2. CNS Research Group (GRSNC), Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Daniel Lévesque

    Corresponding author
    1. CNS Research Group (GRSNC), Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
    Current affiliation:
    1. Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montreal, Montréal, QC, Canada
    • Faculty of Pharmacy, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
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Correspondence: Daniel Lévesque

E-mail: daniel.levesque.1@umontreal.ca

Abstract

Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a delayed and potentially irreversible motor complication arising in patients chronically exposed to antipsychotic drugs. As several modern (so-called atypical) antipsychotic drugs are common offenders, combined with the widening clinical indications for prescription as well as exposure of vulnerable individuals, TD will remain a significant drug-induced unwanted side effect. In addition, the pathophysiology of TD remains elusive and therapeutics are difficult. Based on rodent experiments, we have previously shown that the transcriptional factor Nur77 (also known as nerve growth factor inducible gene B or Nr4a1) is induced in the striatum following antipsychotic drug exposure as part of a long-term neuroadaptive process. To confirm this, we exposed adult capuchin (Cebus apella) monkeys to prolonged treatments with haloperidol (median 18.5 months, N = 11) or clozapine (median 6 months, N = 6). Six untreated animals were used as controls. Five haloperidol-treated animals developed mild TD movements similar to those found in humans. No TD was observed in the clozapine group. Postmortem analysis of Nur77 expression measured by in situ hybridization revealed a stark contrast between the two drugs, as Nur77 mRNA levels in the caudate-putamen were strongly upregulated in animals exposed to haloperidol but were spared following clozapine treatment. Interestingly, within the haloperidol-treated group, TD-free animals showed higher Nur77 expression in putamen subterritories compared with dyskinetic animals. This suggests that Nur77 expression might be associated with a reduced risk of TD in this experimental model and could provide a novel target for drug intervention.

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