Depressive Characteristics of FSL Rats.
Involvement of Central Nicotinic Receptors

Tizabi Y, Rezvani1 AH, Russell LT, Tyler KY, Overstreet DH
Department of Pharmacology,
College of Medicine,
Howard University,
20059, Washington DC, USA
Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2000 May 1; 66(1):73-77


Antidepressant effects of acute or chronic nicotine treatments in swim test immobility of Flinders sensitive line (FSL) rats, an animal model of depression, were recently demonstrated (Tizabi et al. Psychopharmacology 142:193, 1999). In the present study we sought to determine whether the antidepressant effects of nicotine could be blocked by the nicotinic antagonist, mecamylamine (MEC). Moreover, the effects of chronic nicotine treatment on [3H]cytisine binding in discrete brain regions of FSL and their control Flinders resistant line (FRL) rats were also evaluated. Adult male FSL rats were treated with MEC (0.5 mg/kg) 20 min prior to an acute or chronic nicotine administration. MEC by itself did not affect the immobility in swim test. However, it completely blocked the acute or chronic nicotine effects. Daily nicotine injection (0.4 mg/kg/day for 14 days) resulted in an increase in [3H]cytisine binding primarily in the FRL rats. An increase in nicotinic receptor binding following chronic nicotine administration is believed to reflect desensitization of these receptors. These findings, coupled with previous observation of higher basal nicotinic receptors in FSL rats, further support the involvement of central nicotinic receptors in depressive characteristics of these rats. Moreover, the data suggest therapeutic potential for selective nicotinic receptor agonists in depressive disorders.
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