Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of hydrogen sulfide in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats through inhibition of hippocampal oxidative stress

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Depression is highly prevalent in individuals with diabetes, and depressive symptoms are less responsive to current antidepressant therapies. Oxidative stress plays a major role both in the pathogenesis of diabetes and in major depression and anxiety disorders. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), the third gaseous mediator, is a novel signaling molecule in the brain that has both antioxidative activity and antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects. We hypothesized that H2S could produce antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects in diabetic patients through its antioxidative effect. To test this hypothesis, we generated streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. We found that H2S alleviated depressive-like behaviors of STZ-induced diabetic rats in the forced swimming and tail suspension tests and reduced their anxiety-like behaviors in the elevated plus maze test. We also found that H2S significantly reduced levels of malondialdehyde and 4-hydroxynonenal and elevated levels of superoxide dismutase and reduced glutathione in the hippocampus of STZ-induced diabetic rats. The results provide evidence for antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of H2S in STZ-induced diabetic rats and suggest that the therapeutic effects may result from inhibition of hippocampal oxidative stress. These findings suggest that elevating H2S signaling is a potential target for treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders related to diabetes.

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