Single administration of agmatine reverses the depressive-like behavior induced by corticosterone in mice: Comparison with ketamine and fluoxetine

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Abstract

Agmatine is a neuromodulator that has been proposed as a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). A previous study reported that agmatine caused a fast-acting effect in mice subjected to chronic mild stress without causing changes in the levels of synaptic proteins in the prefrontal cortex. We examined whether a single administration of agmatine is able to counteract the depressive-like behavior induced by chronic administration of corticosterone, a pharmacological model of stress, paralleled with the modulation of synaptic protein levels in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Female mice received corticosterone (20 mg/kg, p.o.) for 21 days and, in the last day of treatment, were administered with a single dose of agmatine (0.1 mg/kg, p.o.), fluoxetine (10 mg/kg, p.o.; control for a conventional antidepressant) or ketamine (1 mg/kg, i.p.; control for a fast-acting antidepressant). Agmatine, similar to ketamine, reversed the depressive-like behavior induced by corticosterone in the tail suspension test (TST), an effect that was not observed in mice treated with fluoxetine. The immunocontent of GluA1 was increased by all the treatments in the hippocampus of control mice, whereas PSD95 was not significantly altered by treatments in any brain structure. Although the levels of synaptic proteins do not seem to account for the behavioral findings reported here, the present study provides clear evidence for the fast-acting antidepressant profile of agmatine in the TST, similar to ketamine.

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