, Volume 138, Issue 2, pp 190-197

The partial NMDA agonist D-cycloserine stimulates LH secretion in healthy volunteers

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Abstract

D-Cycloserine, a partial agonist of the glycine recognition site of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, may serve as a probe for human cerebral NMDA receptor function. Since NMDA receptors are involved in neuroendocrine secretion, changes in pituitary secretion in response to D-cycloserine administration could serve as a model for NMDA receptor activity. The effects of an oral dose of 500 mg D-cycloserine were assessed in a neuroendocrine challenge paradigm in 20 healthy male volunteers, using a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled crossover design. Luteinizing hormone (LH) and cortisol secretion was studied, since preclinical studies indicate that these hormones increase in response to NMDA receptor stimulation. Furthermore, plasma homovanillic acid (HVA) secretion was studied, as NMDA receptors are suggested to be involved in the regulation of dopaminergic neurotransmission. D-cycloserine was readily absorbed and did not induce side-effects or changes in vital signs and mood scores. D-Cycloserine stimulated LH secretion and induced a significant rise of the area under the plasma concentration time curve of LH. D-Cycloserine did not stimulate cortisol or plasma HVA secretion. These neuroendocrine effects suggest that D-cycloserine may be used to assess human NMDA receptor function in cerebral disorders, such as schizophrenia.

Received: 15 September 1997/Final version: 1 February 1998