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Antidepressant effects of TNF-α blockade in an animal model of depression.

Journal of psychiatric research (2013-02-12)
Ute Krügel, Johannes Fischer, Susanne Radicke, Ulrich Sack, Hubertus Himmerich
ABSTRACT

Pro-inflammatory cytokines such as tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) have repeatedly been shown to play a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of depression. Therefore, we tested the possible antidepressant-like effect of the anti-TNF-α drug etanercept in an animal model of chronic mild stress. Male Wistar rats were assigned to a non-restrained and a restrained protocol for 5 weeks. From beginning of the third week the animals were treated either with Ringer solution daily or with etanercept twice a week (0.3 mg/kg, i.p.) instead of Ringer solution (n = 12 each). As reference, imipramine (10 mg/kg, i.p.) was administered in a third restraint group daily. Naïve non-treated non-restrained rats served as healthy controls (n = 12). In the forced swim test (FST) depression-like behaviour induced by restraint was recorded as enhanced immobile time and reduced climbing activity of the vehicle-treated group in comparison to the naïve and the non-restrained vehicle treated group. The treatment with etanercept significantly reduced the depression-like effects resulting in reduced immobile time in the FST and intensified climbing behaviour (p < 0.01, p < 0.05), both similar to the antidepressive-like effect of imipramine (p < 0.01 both). The repeated restraint induced a loss of body weight gain in the Ringer-treated group which was not reversed, neither by imipramine nor by etanercept. The antidepressant effects of blocking TNF-α using etanercept may be caused by enhancement of serotonergic or noradrenergic neurotransmission or normalization of stress hormone secretion which has to be substantiated in further studies.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Imipramine hydrochloride, ≥99% (TLC)
Sigma-Aldrich
Imipramine hydrochloride, BioXtra, ≥99% (TLC)
Imipramine hydrochloride, European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Reference Standard