Effects of escitalopram, R-citalopram, and reboxetine on serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-10, and depression-like behavior in mice after lipopolysaccharide administration

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Abstract

Inflammation plays a role in the pathophysiology of depression. The purpose of this study is to examine whether the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) escitalopram, its inactive enantiomer R-citalopram, and selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (NRI) reboxetine, show anti-inflammatory and antidepressant effects in an inflammation-induced model of depression. Pretreatment with escitalopram (1, 3, or 10 mg/kg, i.p.) markedly blocked an increase in the serum levels of pro-inflammatory cytokine, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), after a single administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 0.5 mg/kg). Furthermore, escitalopram (3 or 10 mg/kg) significantly increased the serum levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) by a single administration of LPS. In contrast, pretreatment with R-citalopram (10 mg/kg, i.p.) or reboxetine (10 mg/kg, i.p.) did not affect the alterations in serum levels of TNF-α and IL-10 after LPS administration. Co-administration of reboxetine with escitalopram did not show anti-inflammatory effects. Pretreatment with escitalopram (10 mg/kg) significantly attenuated LPS-induced increase of the immobility time in the tail-suspension test (TST) and forced swimming test (FST). In contrast, pretreatment with R-citalopram (10 mg/kg), or reboxetine (10 mg/kg) did not alter LPS-induced increase of immobility time of TST and FST. Interestingly, co-administration of reboxetine with escitalopram did not show antidepressant effect in this model. These findings suggest that escitalopram, but not R-citalopram and reboxetine, has anti-inflammatory and antidepressant effects in LPS-treated model of depression, and that reboxetine can antagonize the effects of escitalopram in the inflammation model. Therefore, it is likely that serotonergic system plays a key role in the pathophysiology of inflammation-induced depression.

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