The antidepressant-like activity of creatine in the tail suspension test (TST) was demonstrated previously by our group. In this study we investigated the involvement of the noradrenergic system in the antidepressant-like effect of creatine in the mouse TST. In the first set of experiments, creatine administered by i.c.v. route (1 μg/site) decreased the immobility time in the TST, suggesting the central effect of this compound. The anti-immobility effect of peripheral administration of creatine (1 mg/kg, p.o.) was prevented by the pretreatment of mice with α-methyl-p-tyrosine (100 mg/kg, i.p., inhibitor of tyrosine hydroxylase), prazosin (1 mg/kg, i.p., α1-adrenoceptor antagonist), but not by yohimbine (1 mg/kg, i.p., α2-adrenoceptor antagonist). Creatine (0.01 mg/kg, subeffective dose) in combination with subeffective doses of amitriptyline (1 mg/kg, p.o., tricyclic antidepressant), imipramine (0.1 mg/kg, p.o., tricyclic antidepressant), reboxetine (2 mg/kg, p.o., selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor) or phenylephrine (0.4 μg/site, i.c.v., α1-adrenoceptor agonist) reduced the immobility time in the TST as compared with either drug alone. These results indicate that the antidepressant-like effect of creatine is likely mediated by an activation of α1-adrenoceptor and that creatine produces synergistic effects in the TST with antidepressants that modulate noradrenaline transporter, suggesting that an improvement in the response to the antidepressant therapy may occur when creatine is combined with these antidepressants. Furthermore, the synergistic effect of creatine (0.01 mg/kg, p.o.) and reboxetine (2 mg/kg, p.o.) combination was abolished by the α1-adrenoceptor antagonist prazosin, indicating that the antidepressant-like effect of combined therapy is likely mediated by an activation of α1-adrenoceptor.Highlights
▪ Creatine antidepressant-like effect is mediated by α1-adrenoceptor activation. ▪ Creatine potentiates the antidepressant effect of the noradrenergic agents. ▪ Creatine might constitute an alternative for the treatment of depression.