Investigation of antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like actions and cognitive and motor side effects of four N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists in mice

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Abstract

Evidence suggests that N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) antagonists could be efficacious in treating depression and anxiety, but side effects constitute a challenge. This study evaluated the antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like actions, and cognitive and motor side effects of four NMDAR antagonists. MK-801, ketamine, S-ketamine, RO 25-6981 and the positive control, citalopram, were tested for antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects in mice using the forced-swim test, the elevated zero maze and the novelty-induced hypophagia test. Side effects were assessed using a locomotor activity test, the modified Y-maze and the rotarod test. All compounds increased swim distance in the forced-swim test. In the elevated zero maze, the GluN2B subtype-selective RO 25-6981 affected none of the measured parameters, whereas all other compounds showed anxiolytic-like effects. In the novelty-induced hypophagia test, citalopram and MK-801 showed anxiogenic-like action. All NMDAR antagonists induced hyperactivity. The high doses of ketamine and MK-801 impaired performance in the modified Y-maze test, whereas S-ketamine and RO 25-6891 showed no effects in this test. Only MK-801 impaired rotarod performance. The study supports that NMDARs could be a possible therapeutic target for treating depression and anxiety. However, selective antagonism of GluN2B subunit-containing NMDARs showed no effect on anxiety-like behaviours in this study.

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