Ferulic acid exerts antidepressant-like effect in the tail suspension test in mice: Evidence for the involvement of the serotonergic system

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Ferulic acid (4-hydroxy-3-methoxycinnamic acid) is a phenolic compound present in several plants with claimed beneficial effects in prevention and treatment of disorders linked to oxidative stress and inflammation. In this study, we aimed to verify the possible antidepressant-like effect of acute oral administration of ferulic acid in the forced swimming test (FST) and tail suspension test (TST) in mice. Additionally, the mechanisms involved in the antidepressant-like action and the effects of the association of ferulic acid with the antidepressants fluoxetine, paroxetine, and sertraline in the TST were investigated. Ferulic acid produced an antidepressant-like effect in the FST and TST (0.01–10 mg/kg, p.o.), without accompanying changes in ambulation. The pretreatment of mice with WAY100635 (0.1 mg/kg, s.c., a selective 5-HT1A receptor antagonist) or ketanserin (5 mg/kg, i.p., a 5-HT2A receptor antagonist) was able to reverse the anti-immobility effect of ferulic acid (0.01 mg/kg, p.o.) in the TST. The combination of fluoxetine (5 mg/kg, p.o.), paroxetine (0.1 mg/kg, p.o.) or sertraline (1 mg/kg, p.o.) with a sub-effective dose of ferulic acid (0.001 mg/kg, p.o.) produced a synergistic antidepressant-like effect in the TST, without causing hyperlocomotion in the open-field test. Taken together, these results demonstrate that ferulic acid exerts antidepressant-like effect in the FST and TST in mice through modulation of the serotonergic system.

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