Contrasting Neurochemical Interactions of Tiletamine, a Potent Phencyclidine (PCP) Receptor Ligand, with the N-Methyl-D-Aspartate-Coupled and -Uncoupled PCP Recognition Sites


  • The present address of Dr. P. C. Contreras is CNS Diseases Research, G. D. Searle & Co., 4901 West Searle Parkway, Skokie, IL 60077, U.S.A.

  • The present address of Dr. P. L. Wood is Hoechst-Roussell Pharmaceuticals Inc., Somerville, NJ 08807–1258, U.S.A.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. T. S. Rao at CNS Diseases Research, G. D. Searle-Monsanto, Mail Zone AA 5E, 700 Chesterfield Village Parkway, St. Louis, MO 63198, U.S.A.


Abstract: Neurochemical interactions of tiletamine, a potent phencyclidine (PCP) receptor ligand, with the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-coupled and -uncoupled PCP recognition sites were examined. Tiletamine potently displaced the binding of [3H]1-(2-thienyl)cyclohexylpiperidine with an IC50 of 79 nM without affecting σ-, glycine, glutamate, kainate, quisqualate, or dopamine (DA) receptors. Like other PCP ligands acting via the NMDA-coupled PCP recognition sites, tiletamine decreased basal, harmaline-, and D-serine-mediated increases in cyclic cGMP levels and induced stereotypy and ataxia. Tiletamine was nearly five times more potent than PCP at inhibiting the binding of 3-hydroxy[3H]PCP to its high-affinity NMDA-uncoupled PCP recognition sites. However, following parenteral administration, dizocilpine maleate (MK-801), ketamine, PCP, dexoxadrol, and 1-(2-thienyl)cyclohexylpiperidine HCl, but not tiletamine, increased rat pyriform cortical DA metabolism and/or release, a response modulated by the NMDA-uncoupled PCP recognition sites. Pretreatment with tiletamine did not attenuate the MK-801-induced increases in rat pyriform cortical DA metabolism, a result suggesting that tiletamine is not a partial agonist of the NMDA-uncoupled PCP recognition sites in this region. However, following intracerebroventricular administration (100–500 μg/rat), tiletamine increased pyriform cortical DA metabolism with a bell-shaped dose-response curve. These data indicate a differential interaction of tiletamine with the NMDA-coupled and -uncoupled PCP recognition sites. The paradoxical effects of tiletamine suggest that tiletamine might activate receptor(s) or neuronal pathways of unknown pharmacology.