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The rat hippocampal gliovascular system following one week vortioxetine and fluoxetine

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We have previously reported that vortioxetine, unlike the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine, produces a rapid increase of dendritic spine number and Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF)-associated formation of synapses with mitochondrial support in the rat hippocampal CA1 and dentate gyrus. As a continuation of this line of research, and given the putative role of brain glial cells in mediating antidepressant responses the present study investigated early effects of vortioxetine on hippocampal microvasculature and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and astrocytes and microglia cells. Rats were treated for 1 week with vortioxetine (1.6 g/kg food chow) or fluoxetine (160 mg/L drinking water) at pharmacologically relevant doses. Stereological principles were used to estimate the number of ALDH1L1 positive astrocytes and Iba1 positive microglia cells, and the length of microvessels in subregions of hippocampus. VEGF protein levels were visualized with immunohistochemistry. Our results showed that vortioxetine significantly increased the number of ramified (resting) microglia and astrocytes accompanied by VEGF level elevation, whereas fluoxetine had no effect after 7 days treatment on these measures. Our findings suggest that astrocytes and microglia may have a role in mediating the pharmacological effects of vortioxetine in rats and that these effects are mediated through mechanisms that go beyond inhibition of the serotonin transporter and may target specific 5-HT receptors. It remains to be investigated whether these findings are relevant for the therapeutic effects of vortioxetine.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • Astrocytes, Microglia, Vortioxetine

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