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Physiology & behavior

Assessment of antidepressant and anxiolytic properties of NK1 antagonists and substance P in Wistar Kyoto rats.


PMID 17258242

Abstract

In an attempt to explore the involvement of substance P in depression and anxiety and its' potential therapeutic effects, we measured basal plasma and hypothalamic levels of substance P in a well-studied animal model of depression--adult male Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats and their controls, Wistar rats. We also studied the influence of a substance P receptor (NK1) antagonist (SPA) on "anxiety-like" and "depressive-like" behaviors exhibited by the WKY rats in the open field and swim test paradigms, compared to controls. WKY rats exhibited lower levels of substance P compared to controls in the hypothalamus. Though the WKY strain exhibited less rearing behavior in the open field compared to controls, SPA did not influence this pattern of behavior. In contrast, SPA had a significant effect on a depressive-like behavior exhibited by the WKY strain--it reduced significantly the immobility duration of WKY rats in the swim test. Thus it seems that depression involves alterations in levels of substance P, and that NK1 antagonists may be effective in the relief of depressive, but not anxiety symptoms.

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