Brain research

Phencyclidine (PCP) acts at sigma sites to induce c-fos gene expression.

PMID 9203533


Phencyclidine (PCP) is a compound that results in abnormal human behavior and has been proposed as a chemical model for schizophrenia. It was hypothesized that PCP induction of the immediate-early gene, c-fos, should be seen in areas associated with emotional behavior, such as the cortex and limbic system. It was also proposed that PCP may induce c-fos via the sigma receptor. PCP and two sigma ligands, 1,3-di(2-tolyl)guanidine (DTG) and pentazocine, were shown to induce c-fos in similar patterns. The three compounds abundantly induced c-fos in the cingulate, parietal, and piriform cortices and the midline structures of the thalamus and hypothalamus. Neither PCP nor the sigma ligands induced c-fos in the hippocampus. This suggests that PCP binding at NMDA receptors does not result in significant c-fos induction. Rimcazole, a putative sigma2 receptor antagonist, and other sigma ligands have been shown to ameliorate PCP stereotypic behavior. Rimcazole inhibited PCP c-fos induction in the cingulate and parietal cortices and DTG c-fos induction in the cingulate cortex. DTG shows both sigma1 and sigma2 binding affinity. Rimcazole failed to inhibit pentazocine c-fos induction. Pentazocine binds only to sigma1 receptors. This suggests that PCP may produce a significant fraction of its c-fos induction via sigma2 receptors.

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Phencyclidine hydrochloride
C17H25N · HCl