Low-Impact Ampakine CX1739 Exerts Pro-Cognitive Effects and Reverses Opiate-Induced Respiratory Depression in Rodents

Daniel Pierce Radin, Sheng Zhong, Rok Cerne, Mohammed Shoaib, Jeffrey M. Witkin, Arnold Lippa, Fabrizio Schifano (Editor)

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AMPA-glutamate receptors (AMPARs) are expressed throughout the CNS and mediate the majority of fast excitatory synaptic transmission. Ampakines are orally available small molecules that bind allosterically to AMPARs and enhance excitatory currents elicited by the endogenous agonist glutamate. In preclinical studies, ampakines are effective in ameliorating symptoms in a battery of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases in which excitatory transmission is compromised. However, the development of ampakines as medicines was slowed by the emergence of neurotoxicity and seizures in rodents due to some ampakines. Here, we describe the preclinical pharmacology of a novel ampakine, N-methyl-N-(tetrahydro-2H-pyran-4-yl)benzo[c][1,2,5] oxadiazole-5-carboxamide (CX1739), that does not induce seizures in animals or humans at efficacious doses. CX1739 dose-dependently enhanced long-term potentiation in vivo in rats, a process thought to be a molecular substrate of learning and memory. Correspondingly, CX1739 dose-dependently enhanced performance in assays that probed multiple aspects of cognition—the novel object recognition test, the win shift radial arm maze, and the five-choice serial reaction time task in rats. CX1739 also abrogated amphetamine-induced locomotor activity, demonstrating that it may be given in conjunction with stimulants for pro-cognitive gains while mitigating the side effects of stimulant-based ADHD medications. CX1739 also rapidly reversed opioid-induced respiratory depression. While efficacy in these tests occurred at doses of 0.03–18 mg/kg, there were no adverse events detected in safety studies in rats up to 2000 mg/kg. These preclinical findings suggest that CX1739 can be translated safely into the clinical setting to potentially treat dementia, neuropsychiatric disorders, and the life-threatening complication of opiate-induced suppression of endogenous inspiratory breathing rhythms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4010012
Pages (from-to)173-187
Number of pages15
JournalFuture Pharmacology
Issue number1
Early online date26 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Feb 2024


  • opiate-induced respiratory depression
  • LTP
  • AMPA receptor
  • ADHD
  • ampakine
  • hyperactivity


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