Biochemical and biophysical research communications

QCM-4, a 5-HT₃ receptor antagonist ameliorates plasma HPA axis hyperactivity, leptin resistance and brain oxidative stress in depression and anxiety-like behavior in obese mice.

PMID 25446100


Several preclinical studies have revealed antidepressant and anxiolytic-like effect of 5-HT3 receptor antagonists. In our earlier study, we have reported the antidepressive-like effect of 3-methoxy-N-p-tolylquinoxalin-2-carboxamide (QCM-4) in obese mice subjected to chronic stress. The present study deals with the biochemical mechanisms associated with depression co-morbid with obesity. Mice were fed with high fat diet (HFD) for 14 weeks, further subjected for treatment with QCM-4 (1 and 2mg/kg p.o.) and standard antidepressant escitalopram (ESC) (10mg/kg p.o.) for 28 days. Behavioral assays for depression such as sucrose preference test (SPT), forced swim test (FST) and for anxiety such as light and dark test (LDT) and hole board test (HBT) were performed in obese mice. Biochemical assessments including plasma leptin and corticosterone concentration followed by brain oxidative stress parameters malonaldehyde (MDA) and reduced glutathione (GSH) were performed. Results confirmed that QCM-4 exhibits antidepressive effect by increasing the sucrose consumption in SPT, reducing immobility time in FST and anxiolytic effect by increasing transitions and time in light chamber in LDT, increasing head dip and crossing score in HBT. Furthermore, QCM-4 attenuated the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis hyperactivity by reducing the plasma corticosterone, reversing altered plasma leptin, restoring the imbalance of brain MDA and GSH concentration. In conclusion, QCM-4 showed antidepressive and anxiolytic effect by reversing the behavioral alterations that were supported by biochemical estimations in obese mice.