JP Maia-de-Oliveira, B Lobão-Soares, T Ramalho, EC Gavioli, VP Soares, L Teixeira, GB Baker, SM Dursun and JE Hallak,
Schizophrenia research, Mar 2015
Recently, we found a rapid and long-lasting improvement of symptoms in schizophrenic patients on antipsychotics after a single four-hour infusion of sodium nitroprusside (SNP), a nitric oxide (NO) donor with a short half-life. This improvement persisted for up to 4weeks. Because these patients remained on antipsychotics after infusion of SNP was finished, the question arises about whether this improvement was due to SNP itself. We have now investigated whether SNP, alone, can produce preventive antipsychotic effects in rats treated with ketamine (KET). 56 adult rats divided into 7 groups were infused with SNP 4mg/kg, KET 25mg/kg, or saline as follows: group1 - saline, group2 - SNP, group3 - KET, group4 - KET 12h after SNP, group5 - KET 1day after SNP, group6 - KET 2days after SNP, and group7 - KET 1week after SNP. The animals were filmed in an open field arena for 30min and the videos were later analyzed by ANY-Maze software to measure activity and stereotypy. SNP significantly prevented the emergence of hyperactivity induced by KET when it was administered for up to 1week before KET, and prevented the emergence of stereotypies when it was administered for up to 1day before KET. These findings in rats, which have an even faster metabolic rate than humans, suggest that the long-lasting effects observed in our clinical trial with SNP in humans could have been due to SNP itself, and indicate for the first time that SNP may present preventive antipsychotic effects.