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Oxidative stress has been suggested to increase after electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), a treatment which continues to be the most effective for severe depression. Oxidative stress could potentially be mechanistically involved in both the therapeutic effects and side effects of ECT.
We measured sensitive markers of systemic and central nervous system (CNS) oxidative stress on DNA and RNA (urinary 8-oxodG/8-oxoGuo, cerebrospinal fluid 8-oxoGuo, and brain oxoguanine glycosylase mRNA expression) in male rats subjected to electroconvulsive stimulations (ECS), an animal model of ECT. Due to the previous observations that link hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA)-axis activity and age to DNA/RNA damage from oxidation, groups of young and middle-aged male animals were included, and markers of HPA-axis activity were measured.
ECS induced weight loss, increased corticosterone (only in middle-aged animals), and decreased cerebral glucocorticoid receptor mRNA expression, while largely leaving the markers of systemic and CNS DNA/RNA damage from oxidation unaltered.
These results suggest that ECS is not associated with any lasting effects on oxidative stress on nucleic acids neither in young nor middle-aged rats.
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