Antidepressant-like effect induced by P2X7 receptor blockade in FSL rats is associated with BDNF signalling activation

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BACKGROUND: P2X7 receptors (P2X7R) are ligand-gated ion channels activated by adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP), which are involved in processes that are dysfunctional in stress response and depression, such as neurotransmitter release, and neuroimmune response. Genetic and pharmacological inhibition of the P2X7R induce antidepressant-like effects in animals exposed to stress. However, the effect of P2X7R antagonism in an animal model of depression based on selective breeding has not previously been studied, and the mechanism underling the antidepressant-like effect induced by the P2X7R blockade remains unknown.

AIMS: The present study aimed to: (1) determine whether P2X7R blockade induces antidepressant-like effects in the Flinders Sensitive Line (FSL) rats and, (2) investigate whether brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signalling in the frontal cortex and hippocampus is involved in this effect.

METHODS: FSL and the control Flinders Resistant Line (FRL) rats were treated with vehicle or the P2X7R antagonist A-804598 (3, 10 or 30 mg/Kg/day) for 1 or 7 days before being exposed to the forced swim test (FST). After the behavioural test, animals were decapitated, their brains were removed and the frontal cortex, ventral and dorsal hippocampus were dissected for BDNF signalling analysis.

RESULTS: We found that repeated treatment with A-804598 (30 mg/Kg) reduced the immobility time in the FST and activated the BDNF signalling in the ventral hippocampus of FSL rats.

CONCLUSIONS: P2X7R blockade induces an antidepressant-like effect associated with increased levels of BDNF-AKT-p70 S6 kinase in the ventral hippocampus, which may be mediated by tropomyosin-related kinase B (TRKB) receptor activation supporting the notion of P2X7R antagonism as a potential new antidepressant strategy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Pages (from-to)269881119872173
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Sep 2019

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