Elevated spectroscopic glutamate/γ-amino butyric acid in rats bred for learned helplessness

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The theory of depression is dominated by the monoamine hypothesis but there is increasing evidence that beyond monoamines, glutamate (Glu) and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) play an essential role in the pathogenesis of depression. In this study, the effect of alterations of GABA and Glu were investigated in the congenital learned helplessness paradigm. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy is an important monitoring tool to bridge the findings in clinical and preclinical studies. We found increased Glu/GABA ratios in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of placebo-treated (saline intraperitoneally) congenital learned helplessness rats versus wild-type rats, and a treatment-induced (desipramine 10 mg/kg intraperitoneally or electroconvulsive shock) decrease of this monoamine ratio in both brain regions. Our results corroborate previous findings of an amino-acid influence on the pathomechanisms of mood disorders.

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