Hyper-signaling of the epidermal growth factor receptor family (ErbB) is implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Various quinazoline inhibitors targeting ErbB1 or ErbB2 – 4 have been developed as anti-cancer agents and might be useful for antipsychotic treatment. In the present study, we used an animal model of schizophrenia established by neonatal hippocampal lesioning and evaluated the neurobehavioral consequences of ErbB1-inhibitor treatment. Subchronic administration of the ErbB1 inhibitor ZD1839 to the cerebroventricle of rats receiving neonatal hippocampal lesioning ameliorated deficits in prepulse inhibition as well as those in the latent inhibition of tone-dependent fear learning. There were no apparent adverse effects on basal learning scores or locomotor activity, however. The administration of other ErbB1 inhibitors, PD153035 and OSI-774, similarly attenuated the prepulse inhibition impairment of this animal model. In parallel, there were decreases in ErbB1 phosphorylation in animals treated with ErbB1 inhibitors. These results indicate an antipsychotic potential of quinazoline ErbB1 inhibitors. ErbB receptor tyrosine kinases may be novel therapeutic targets for schizophrenia or its related psychotic symptoms.
The Japanese Pharmacological Society 2010