Uncompetitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists with fast off-rate (UFO) may represent promising drug candidates for various neurodegenerative disorders. In this study, we report that bis(propyl)-cognitin, a novel dimeric acetylcholinesterase inhibitor and γ-aminobutyric acid subtype A receptor antagonist, is such an antagonist of NMDA receptors. In cultured rat hippocampal neurons, we demonstrated that bis-(propyl)-cognitin voltage-dependently, selectively, and moderately inhibited NMDA-activated currents. The inhibitory effects of bis(propyl)-cognitin increased with the rise in NMDA and glycine concentrations. Kinetics analysis showed that the inhibition was of fast onset and offset with an off-rate time constant of 1.9 s. Molecular docking simulations showed moderate hydrophobic interaction between bis(propyl)-cognitin and the MK-801 binding region in the ion channel pore of the NMDA receptor. Bis(propyl)-cognitin was further found to compete with [3H]MK-801 with a Kivalue of 0.27 μM, and the mutation of NR1(N616R) significantly reduced its inhibitory potency. Under glutamate-mediated pathological conditions, bis(propyl)-cognitin, in contrast to bis(heptyl)-cognitin, prevented excitotoxicity with increasing effectiveness against escalating levels of glutamate and much more effectively protected against middle cerebral artery occlusion-induced brain damage than did memantine. Moreinterestingly, under NMDA receptor-mediated physiological conditions, bis(propyl)-cognitin enhanced long-term potentiation in hippocampal slices, whereas MK-801 reduced and memantine did not alter this process. These results suggest that bis(propyl)-cognitin is a UFO antagonist of NMDA receptors with moderate affinity, which may provide a pathologically activated therapy for various neurodegenerative disorders associated with NMDA receptor dysregulation.
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology