Rationale: Long-term individual housing increases aggressive behavior in mice, a condition termed isolation-induced aggression; this aggressiveness is reduced by some antidepressants and anxiolytics. NMDA antagonists also inhibit isolation-induced aggression in mice. The enzyme N-acetylated-a-linked acidic dipeptidase (NAALADase) hydrolyzes the neurotransmitter N- acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG) to form glutamate and N-acetylaspartate; NAAG acts as a partial NMDA agonist as well as a full agonist at the presynaptic metabotropic glutamate receptor 3 (mGluR3), where it acts to reduce glutamate release. Objective: We postulated that NAALADase inhibition would reduce isolation-induced aggression in mice. Methods: We tested whether acute exposure to the NAALADase inhibitor 2-[[hydroxy[2,3,4,5,6-pentafluorophenyl)methyl] phosphinyl]methyl] pentanedioic acid (GPI-5232), administered 30 min prior to a social interaction test, would inhibit aggressive behavior in SJL mice that had been individually housed long term. Results: Administration of GPI-5232 (30 mg/kg, IP) inhibited initiation of aggressive behavior, indicated by greater latencies to display tail-rattling, attack and biting, and by fewer mice initiating aggressive behavior, compared to mice that received vehicle. In addition, GPI-5232 treated mice had fewer tail-rattling responses to a non-aggressive conspecific. Conclusions: The effectiveness of GPI-5232 in this animal model suggests that NAALADase inhibition may be a novel therapeutic approach to reduce or inhibit heightened aggressiveness, and possibly to treat aggressive behavior associated with psychiatric disorders.
- Aggressive behavior
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