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The cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 (TRPV1) are proposed to mediate opposite behavioural responses. Their common denominator is the endocannabinoid ligand anandamide (AEA), which is believed to mediate antidepressant-like effect via CB1-R stimulation and depressive-like effect via TRPV1 activation. This is supposed to explain the bell-shaped dose-response curve for anandamide in preclinical models.
We investigated this assumption by administering the dual inhibitor of AEA hydrolysis and TRPV1 activation N-arachidonoyl-serotonin (AA-5HT) into the medial prefrontal cortex of rats. AA-5HT was given in three different doses (0.125, 0.250, 0.500 nmol/0.4 µl/side) and rat behaviour was assessed in the forced swim test.
Our results show significant antidepressant-like effect of AA-5HT (0.250 nmol) but no effects of low or high doses. The effect of 0.250 nmol AA-5HT was partially attenuated when coadministering the inverse CB1-agonist rimonabant (1.6 µg).
A 0.250 nmol of AA-5HT administration into the medial prefrontal cortex induced a significant antidepressant-like effect that was partially attenuated by locally blocking CB1-receptor.
Stress increases DNA methylation and decreases the expression of genes involved in neural plasticity, while treatment with DNA methyltransferase inhibitors (DNMTi) increases gene expression and induces antidepressant-like effects in preclinical models. Therefore, the aim of the present work was to further investigate the potential antidepressant-like effect induced by DNMTi by evaluating the behavioural effects induced by associating DNMTi treatment with conventional antidepressant drugs in mice submitted to the forced swimming test (FST). In addition, brain levels of DNA methylation were also investigated.
Mice received systemic injections of 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-AzaD, 0.1, 0.2 mg/kg), RG108 (0.1, 0.2, 0.4 mg/kg), desipramine (DES, 2.5, 5, 10 mg/kg) or fluoxetine (FLX, 5, 10, 20, 30 mg/kg) and were submitted to the FST or to the open field test (OFT). Additional groups received a combination of subeffective doses of 5-AzaD or RG108 (DNMTi) with subeffective doses of DES or FLX (antidepressants).
Subeffective doses of RG108 (0.1 mg/kg) or 5-AzaD (0.1mg/kg) in association with subeffective doses of DES (2.5 mg/kg) or FLX (10 mg/kg) induced significant antidepressant-like effects. Effective doses of RG108 (0.2 mg/kg), 5-AzaD (0.2 mg/kg), DES (10 mg/kg) and FLX (20 mg/kg) atenuated stress-induced changes in DNA methylation levels in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. None of the treatments induced locomotor effects in the OFT.
These results suggest that DNMTi potentiate the behavioural effects of antidepressant drugs in the FST and that antidepressants, as well as DNMTi, are able to modulate stress-induced changes in DNA methylation in brain regions closely associated with the neurobiology of depression.
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