Antidepressant-like effect of pramipexole in an inflammatory model of depression

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Pramipexole (PPX), a dopamine D2/3 receptor preferring agonist, is currently in use for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease symptoms and restless legs syndrome. Recently, anti-inflammatory properties of PPX have been shown in an autoimmune model of multiple sclerosis, and case reports indicate PPX ameliorates depressive symptoms. Since peripheral inflammation is known to induce depression-like behavior in rodents, we assessed the potential antidepressant effect of PPX in an inflammatory model of depression induced by LPS. Repeated (daily for 7 days, 1 mg/kg, i.p.), but not acute (1 h before LPS) treatment with PPX abolished the depression-like behavior induced by LPS (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.) in the forced swim test, and the anhedonic behavior in the splash test. Interestingly, PPX per se decreased interleukin 1β levels and reversed LPS-induced increase in its content in mice hippocampus· Repeated PPX treatment also prevented the increase in hippocampal levels of the 3-nitrotyrosine protein adducts induced by LPS. Haloperidol (0.2 mg/kg, i.p.) and sulpiride (50 mg/kg, i.p.) were unable to prevent the antidepressant-like effect of PPX in LPS-treated mice. Altogether, these results suggest that the observed antidepressant-like effect of PPX in LPS-treated mice may be dependent on its anti-inflammatory properties and may not be related to dopamine D2 receptor activation.

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