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Clinical Trial Summary

The purpose of this study is to assess the efficacy of d-cycloserine (DCS) as an augmentation strategy in two psychotic patients with a triplication (4 copies) of the glycine decarboxylase (GLDC) gene. Subjects will first undergo an eight-week open-label arm of treatment with DCS (50 mg/d) followed by six 6-week double-blind placebo-controlled exposures to DCS or placebo. The length of each double-blind arm is limited to six weeks to minimize the length of symptom exacerbation experienced by the subjects when they are receiving placebo. The randomization scheme will allow two consecutive exposures to DCS, but will not allow two consecutive exposures to placebo, again to minimize the length of any symptom exacerbation. At the end of the open-label DCS trial, the following procedures will be carried out: structural MRI (3T), proton 1H MRS (4T), fMRI (3T), steady-state auditory evoked potentials, and electroretinogram recordings. In addition, 1H MRS (4T) for 2 hours after a single oral dose of a DCS will be assessed. Baseline data on all of these measures were previously obtained as part of a different study registered in clinical - NCT01720316). Positive, negative, and affective symptoms and neurocognitive function as well as plasma levels of large neutral and large and small neutral and excitatory amino acids and psychotropic drug levels will be assessed periodically. Pharmaceutical grade DCS) or placebo will be compounded and dispensed by the McLean Hospital Pharmacy.

The investigators hypothesize that mutation carriers will have reduced endogenous brain glycine and GABA levels and increased brain glutamate and glutamine levels. DCS administration will increase brain glycine in the two carriers compared to baseline and treatment with glycine (0.8g/kg).

The investigators hypothesize reduced activation of magnocellular pathways and abnormal ERPs modulated by NMDA in mutation carriers compared with non-carrier family members and controls.

. The investigators hypothesize that DCS, but not placebo, will improve positive, negative and affective symptoms as well as neurocognitive function.

The investigators also hypothesize that DCS will improve clinical and cognitive functioning, will partially normalize decreased baseline glycine and GABA and increased glutamate and glutamine, and will partially normalize magnocellular pathway activation and abnormal evoked potentials.

Clinical Trial Description

Multiple rare structural variants of relatively recent evolutionary origin are recognized as important risk factors for schizophrenia (SZ) and other neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., autism spectrum disorders, mental retardation, epilepsy) with odds ratios as high as 7-30. We have found a de novo structural rearrangement on chromosome 9p24.1 in two psychotic patients. One of the genes in this region is the gene encoding glycine decarboxylase (GLDC), which affects brain glycine metabolism. GLDC encodes the glycine decarboxylase or glycine cleavage system P-protein, which is involved in degradation of glycine in glia cells. Carriers of the GLDC triplication would be expected to have low levels of brain Gly, resulting in NMDA receptor-mediated hypofunction, which has been strongly implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.

There is an extensive literature on the effects of NMDA enhancing agents on positive, negative, and depressive symptoms and on neurocognitive function. Although many studies have reported positive results in at least one symptom domain, the results of other studies have been negative or ambiguous. Factors likely to contribute to this variability include: mechanism of action of the agent, compliance, concurrent treatment with first- vs second generation antipsychotic drugs, baseline glycine blood levels, presence/absence of kynurenine pathway metabolic abnormalities and individual differences in brain glycine uptake and metabolism . Genetic variants that impact the synthesis and breakdown of glycine, glutamate, or other modulators of NMDA receptor function are also likely to have significant effects. Although DCS augmentation has shown variable efficacy in patients unselected for having a mutation that would be expected to lower brain glycine levels, the GLDC triplication in the two carriers in this study would be expected to result in unusually low brain glycine levels, supporting its therapeutic potential as an augmentation strategy.

Thus, it is important to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of DCS augmentation in individuals in whom there is a high prior probability of therapeutic benefit and to characterize the neurobiology of this mutation in terms of brain metabolites, brain function, and the pharmacokinetics of glycine metabolism using well-established methods. ;

Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT02304432
Study type Interventional
Source Mclean Hospital
Status Completed
Phase Early Phase 1
Start date September 27, 2015
Completion date July 31, 2017

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