The effects of systemic NT69L, a neurotensin agonist, on baseline and drug-disrupted prepulse inhibition

P. D. Shilling, E. Richelson, D. Feifel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Centrally administered neurotensin (NT) produces behavioral and biochemical effects that are very similar to the effects of antipsychotic drugs. Therefore, there is much interest in the potential use of NT agonists as antipsychotic drugs. We have previously reported that PD149163, a NT(8-13) analogue, produced effects on prepulse inhibition (PPI) of startle after systemic administration that were suggestive of an atypical antipsychotic-like drug profile. To determine if these effects are shared by other peripherally administered NT agonists, we tested the effects of NT69L, a recently developed NT agonist that penetrates the CNS, on drug-induced PPI deficits. In the first experiment, rats received subcutaneous (s.c.) injections of NT69L (vehicle, 0.08, 0.25, and 1.0mg/kg) followed 30min later by subcutaneous saline or D-amphetamine (2.0mg/kg). In the second experiment, NT69L injections were followed by saline or the non-competitive NMDA antagonist dizocilpine (0.1mg/kg). Both D-amphetamine and dizocilpine significantly decreased PPI as expected. In the first experiment, NT69L significantly increased PPI levels at baseline and after D-amphetamine. In the second experiment, NT69L attenuated PPI deficits produced by dizocilpine, without increasing baseline PPI. In addition, NT69L had no effect on startle magnitude. The effects of NT69L in these studies were similar in some ways to the effects of PD149163 and were also consistent with the preclinical effects of atypical antipsychotic drugs. These data provide further support for the notion that NT agonists may have use as novel antipsychotic drugs. Furthermore, the ability of NT69L and PD149163 to attenuate dizocilpine-disrupted PPI, an antipsychotic drug effect not mediated by dopamine, suggests that NT agonists may produce some of their antipsychotic-like effects by modulating neurotransmitter systems other than dopamine, such as serotonin, noradrenaline or glutamate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-14
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 14 2003


  • Atypical antipsychotic drugs
  • D-Amphetamine
  • Dizocilpine
  • Dopamine
  • Glutamate
  • NMDA
  • Schizophrenia
  • Typical antipsychotic drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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