Decreased in vivo α2 adrenoceptor binding in the Flinders Sensitive Line rat model of depression

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Depression is a debilitating heterogenous disorder and the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Alterations in monoaminergic neurotransmission, including noradrenergic, have been implicated in the etiology of depression. Although depression is difficult to model in animals, the availability of animal models with face, predictive and construct validity permits more in-depth investigations resulting in a greater understanding of the disease. We investigated the role of noradrenaline (NA) and α2 adrenoceptors in vivo in a genetic model of depression, the Flinders Sensitive Line (FSL) rat. We determined baseline differences in NA receptor volume of distribution to α2 adrenoceptors in FSL, in comparison with two routinely used controls, Flinders Resistant Line (FRL) and Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and the carbon-11 labeled radioligand yohimbine. We demonstrate a 42-47% reduction in the binding of the tracer in the cortex, striatum, cerebellum, thalamus and pons of FSL rats compared to the two control groups. Our results suggest that the behavioral deficits expressed in the FSL depression model are associated with functional over-activity of the NA system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-102
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

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