Slow-release delivery enhances the pharmacological properties of oral 5-hydroxytryptophan: mouse proof-of-concept.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) has shown therapeutic promise in a range of human CNS disorders. But native 5-HTP immediate release (IR) is poorly druggable, as rapid absorption causes rapid onset of adverse events, and rapid elimination causes fluctuating exposure. Recently, we reported that 5-HTP delivered as slow-release (SR) in mice augmented the brain pro-serotonergic effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), without the usual adverse events associated with 5-HTP IR. However, our previous study entailed translational limitations, in terms of route, dose, and duration. Here we modeled oral 5-HTP SR in mice by administering 5-HTP via the food. We modeled oral SSRI treatment via fluoxetine in the water, in a regimen recapitulating clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. 5-HTP SR produced plasma 5-HTP levels well within the range enhancing brain 5-HT function in humans. 5-HTP SR robustly increased brain 5-HT synthesis and levels. When administered with an SSRI, 5-HTP SR enhanced 5-HT-sensitive behaviors and neurotrophic mRNA expression. 5-HTP SR's pro-serotonergic effects were stronger in mice with endogenous brain 5-HT deficiency. In a comprehensive screen, 5-HTP SR was devoid of overt toxicological effects. The present preclinical data, appreciated in the context of published 5-HTP clinical data, suggest that 5-HTP SR could represent a new therapeutic approach to the plethora of CNS disorders potentially treatable with a pro-serotonergic drug. 5-HTP SR might in particular be therapeutically relevant when brain 5-HT deficiency is pathogenic and as an adjunctive augmentation therapy to SSRI therapy.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Jacobsen, JPR; Oh, A; Bangle, R; Roberts, WL; Royer, EL; Modesto, N; Windermere, SA; Yi, Z; Vernon, R; Cajina, M; Urs, NM; Snyder, JC; Nicholls, PJ; Sachs, BD; Caron, MG

Published Date

  • November 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 44 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 2082 - 2090

PubMed ID

  • 31035282

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6898594

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1740-634X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/s41386-019-0400-1


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England