Chronic Treatment With Electroconvulsive Shock May Modulate the Immune Function of Macrophages

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine the effect of single and chronic electroconvulsive shock (ECS) administration on the immunoregulatory functions of macrophages.

Methods:

Male Wistar rats received single or chronic treatment with ECS (150 mA, 50 Hz, 0.5 seconds) delivered through ear clips, once a day for 10 consecutive days, or sham ECS administered likewise. The rats were killed 24 hours after the last treatment, and peritoneal macrophages were cultured in vitro for 3 or 36 hours for a subsequent determination of their metabolic activity. The ability of macrophages to reduce Alamar Blue, 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT), and nitrotetrazolium blue chloride and pinocytosis, adherence, and vitality, as well as synthesis of nitric oxide and arginase activity, was assessed.

Results:

We found statistically significant changes in the biological properties of macrophages which occurred after 36 hours of incubation, especially in cultures stimulated with lipopolysaccharide; in contrast, no differences were observed between groups assessed after 3 hours of incubation. Rats receiving chronic 10-fold ECS showed a substantial increase in the metabolic activity of macrophages, reflected as their ability to reduce Alamar Blue and MTT and to increase arginase activity, accompanied with a marked but statistically insignificant decrease in nitric oxide synthesis compared with respective controls.

Conclusions:

Our results suggest that chronic treatment with ECS may induce long-lasting changes in the activity of peritoneal macrophages. Attenuation of their proinflammatory properties indicates that ECS can change the primarily immunoregulatory functions of macrophages.

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