Adenosine A(2A) receptor antagonists are potential antidepressants: evidence based on pharmacology and A(2A) receptor knockout mice
El Yacoubi M, Ledent C, Parmentier M, Bertorelli R, Ongini E, Costentin J, Vaugeois JM.
UMR 6036 CNRS, IFRMP 23, U.F.R. de Medecine & Pharmacie,
22 Boulevard Gambetta, 76183 Rouen Cedex, France.
IRIBHN, U.L.B., Campus Erasme,
808 route de Lennik, B-1070 Brussels, Belgium.
Schering-Plough Research Institute, San Raffaele Science Park,
Via Olgettina, 58, I-20132, Milan, Italy.
Br J Pharmacol 2001 Sep 1;134(1):68-77


Adenosine, an ubiquitous neuromodulator, and its analogues have been shown to produce 'depressant' effects in animal models believed to be relevant to depressive disorders, while adenosine receptor antagonists have been found to reverse adenosine-mediated 'depressant' effect. We have designed studies to assess whether adenosine A(2A) receptor antagonists, or genetic inactivation of the receptor would be effective in established screening procedures, such as tail suspension and forced swim tests, which are predictive of clinical antidepressant activity. Adenosine A(2A) receptor knockout mice were found to be less sensitive to 'depressant' challenges than their wildtype littermates. Consistently, the adenosine A(2A) receptor blockers SCH 58261 (1 - 10 mg kg(-1), i.p.) and KW 6002 (0.1 - 10 mg kg(-1), p.o.) reduced the total immobility time in the tail suspension test. The efficacy of adenosine A(2A) receptor antagonists in reducing immobility time in the tail suspension test was confirmed and extended in two groups of mice. Specifically, SCH 58261 (1 - 10 mg kg(-1)) and ZM 241385 (15 - 60 mg kg(-1)) were effective in mice previously screened for having high immobility time, while SCH 58261 at 10 mg kg(-1) reduced immobility of mice that were selectively bred for their spontaneous 'helplessness' in this assay. Additional experiments were carried out using the forced swim test. SCH 58261 at 10 mg kg(-1) reduced the immobility time by 61%, while KW 6002 decreased the total immobility time at the doses of 1 and 10 mg kg(-1) by 75 and 79%, respectively. Administration of the dopamine D(2) receptor antagonist haloperidol (50 - 200 &mgr;g kg(-1) i.p.) prevented the antidepressant-like effects elicited by SCH 58261 (10 mg kg(-1) i.p.) in forced swim test whereas it left unaltered its stimulant motor effects. In conclusion, these data support the hypothesis that A(2A) receptor antagonists prolong escape-directed behaviour in two screening tests for antidepressants. Altogether the results support the hypothesis that blockade of the adenosine A(2A) receptor might be an interesting target for the development of effective antidepressant agents.
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