Chronic mild stress (CMS) in rats is an established rodent depression model. Antidepressants attenuate the depression-like symptoms and prevent the biochemical changes caused by stress. In the present study, we examined the effect of CMS and the selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (NRI) reboxetine (REB) treatment on behavioral parameters in rats and on hippocampal and cortical neurotrophic factors. Male Sprague Dawley rats were exposed for 5 weeks to a variety of mild stressors. REB (5 mg/kg/i.p.) was daily injected to half of the stressed and unstressed groups. Animal behavior following CMS was tested using the Morris Water Maze (MWM) cognitive paradigm and by monitoring sucrose intake and weight gain. After 5 weeks of CMS, stressed rats showed decreased sucrose intake, and REB treatment normalized this decrease. CMS reduced hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels, and REB treatment reversed this alteration and increased BDNF receptor (TrkB) levels. REB elevated hippocampal extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation of both stressed and unstressed rats. In conclusion, our study shows that BDNF, its receptor TrkB, and ERK participate in the neurobiological response to chronic stress and in the molecular and cellular activities of REB in the hippocampus.
- Chronic mild stress (CMS)
- Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)
- Frontal cortex
- Insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R)