Studies into the anxiolytic actions of agomelatine in social isolation reared rats: role of corticosterone and sex
Harvey, Brian H.
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Anxiety disorders are severely disabling, while current pharmacological treatments are complicated by delayed onset, low remission rates and side-effects. Sex is also noted to contribute towards illness severity and treatment response. Agomelatine is a melatonin (MT1/MT2) agonist and serotonin (5-HT2C) antagonist purported to be anxiolytic in clinical and some pre-clinical studies. We undertook a detailed analysis of agomelatine’s anxiolytic activity in a neurodevelopmental model of anxiety, the social isolation reared rat. Rats received sub-chronic treatment with vehicle or agomelatine (40 mg/kg per day intraperitoneally at 16:00 h for 16 days), with behaviour analysed in the open field test, social interaction test and elevated plus maze. The contribution of corticosterone and sex was also studied. Social isolation rearing increased locomotor activity and reduced social interaction in the social interaction test, and was anxiogenic in the elevated plus maze in males and females. Agomelatine reversed these behaviours. Male and female social isolation reared rats developed anxiety-like behaviours to a similar degree, although response to agomelatine was superior in male rats. Social isolation rearing decreased plasma corticosterone in both sexes and tended to higher levels in females, although agomelatine did not affect corticosterone in either sex. Concluding, agomelatine is anxiolytic in SIR rats, although correcting altered corticosterone could not be implicated. Sex-related differences in the response to agomelatine are evident
- Faculty of Health Sciences