• Cocaine;
  • D3 receptor;
  • dopamine;
  • SB-277011A;
  • self-administration;
  • YQA14


The dopamine (DA) D3 receptor is posited to be importantly involved in drug reward and addiction, and D3 receptor antagonists have shown extraordinary promise as potential anti-addiction pharmacotherapeutic agents in animal models of drug addiction. SB-277011A is the best characterized D3 receptor antagonist in such models. However, the potential use of SB-277011A in humans is precluded by pharmacokinetic and toxicity problems. We here report a novel D3 receptor antagonist YQA14 that shows similar pharmacological properties as SB-277011A. In vitro receptor binding assays suggest that YQA14 has two binding sites on human cloned D3 receptors with Ki-High (0.68 × 10−4 nM) and Ki-Low (2.11 nM), and displays > 150-fold selectivity for D3 over D2 receptors and > 1000-fold selectivity for D3 over other DA receptors. Systemic administration of YQA14 (6.25–25 mg/kg) or SB-277011A (12.5–25 mg/kg) significantly and dose-dependently reduced intravenous cocaine self-administration under both low fixed-ratio and progressive-ratio reinforcement conditions in rats, while failing to alter oral sucrose self-administration and locomotor activity, suggesting a selective inhibition of drug reward. However, when the drug dose was increased to 50 mg/kg, YQA14 and SB-277011A significantly inhibited basal and cocaine-enhanced locomotion in rats. Finally, both D3 antagonists dose-dependently inhibited intravenous cocaine self-administration in wild-type mice, but not in D3 receptor-knockout mice, suggesting that their action is mediated by D3 receptor blockade. These findings suggest that YQA14 has a similar anti-addiction profile as SB-277011A, and deserves further study and development.