European journal of pharmacology

Antidepressant-like activity of the endogenous amine, 1-methyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline in the behavioral despair test in the rat, and its neurochemical correlates: a comparison with the classical antidepressant, imipramine.

PMID 23246532


Disturbances in noradrenergic and serotonergic transmissions have been postulated to form neurochemical background of depression. 1-Methyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline (1MeTIQ) is an endogenous substance which exhibits neuroprotective, antiaddictive and monoamine oxidase (MAO)-inhibiting properties. In the present study, we tested antidepressant-like effects of 1MeTIQ in comparison with the tricyclic antidepressant, imipramine in the forced swimming test in the rat. Additionally, in neurochemical studies, we estimated the rate of monoamine (dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin) metabolism in the rat brain structures. The findings have shown that 1MeTIQ similarly to imipramine produced a dose-dependent antidepressant-like effect in the forced swimming test. The neurochemical data showed that 1MeTIQ produced a significant elevation of serotonin concentration in the brain structures with simultaneous reduction of its metabolite, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA). Moreover, 1MeTIQ slightly increased noradrenaline level but induced a significant elevation of its metabolite, 3-metoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG). Furthermore, 1MeTIQ affected also dopamine metabolism, and decreased the level of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) with a simultaneous significant increase in the concentration of 3-methoxytyramine (3-MT) in all investigated structures. Such mechanism of action leads to a decrease in the production of free radicals during MAO-dependent dopamine oxidation in the brain. In conclusion, we suggest that antidepressant-like activity of 1MeTIQ is based on the unique and complex mechanism of action in which the activation of monoaminergic systems and scavenging of free radicals plays a crucial role. 1MeTIQ as an endogenous compound may be beneficial from the clinical point of view as a new safer and more efficient antidepressant.