Influence of enrichment on behavioral and neurogenic effects of antidepressants in Wistar rats submitted to repeated forced swim test

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Repeated forced swimming test (rFST) may detect gradual effects of antidepressants in adult rats. Antidepressants, as enrichment, affected behavior and neurogenesis in rats. However, the influence of enrichment on behavioral and neurogenic effects of antidepressants is unknown. Here, effects of antidepressants on rFST and hippocampal neurogenesis were investigated in rats under enriched conditions. Behaviors of male Wistar rats, housed from weaning in standard (SE) or enriched environment (EE), were registered during rFST. The rFST consisted of 15 min of swimming (pretest) followed by 5 min of swimming in the first (test), seventh (retest 1) and fourteenth (retest 2) days after pretest. One hour before the test, rats received an intraperitoneal injection of saline (1 ml/kg), fluoxetine (2.5 mg/kg) or imipramine (2.5 or 5 mg/kg). These treatments were performed daily until the day of the retest 2. After retest 2, rats were euthanized for the identification of markers for neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Fluoxetine or imipramine decreased immobility in retests 1 and 2, as compared to saline. EE abolished these differences. In EE, fluoxetine or imipramine (5 mg/kg) reduced immobility time in retest 2, as compared to the test. Independent of the housing conditions, fluoxetine and imipramine (5 mg/kg) increased the ratio of immature neurons per progenitor cell in the hippocampus. In summary, antidepressants or enrichment counteracted the high immobility in rFST. Enrichment changed the effects of antidepressants in rFST depending on the type, and the dose of a substance but failed to change neurogenesis in control or antidepressant treated-rats. Effects of antidepressants and enrichment on rFST seemed neurogenesis-independent.

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