The aim of the present study was to investigate the anxiolytic effects of long-term treatment with fluoxetine in rats. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine, are used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, in addition to treating depression. A major concern with SSRIs is a 2–3-week delay in their therapeutic effects. SSRIs share with anxiolytic 5-HT 1A agonists the ability to produce desensitization of post-synaptic 5-HT 1A receptors. To investigate the anxiolytic effects of fluoxetine, rats were treated for 14 days with fluoxetine (10 mg kg −1 day −1 , i.p.). The rats were stressed using a conditioned stress procedure and tested one day after the last fluoxetine injection. Fluoxetine decreased stress-induced defecation (by 60%), reversed the stress-induced suppression of exploring behavior (by 59%) and shortened the duration of stress-induced freezing behavior (by 11.5%). However, the stress-induced increase in plasma levels of ACTH, corticosterone, oxytocin, prolactin and renin were not inhibited by fluoxetine treatment. These findings suggest that neuroadaptive changes induced by sustained inhibition of serotonin (5-HT) reuptake, contribute to the mechanism of the anxiolytic effects of fluoxetine. In contrast, the neuroendocrine responses to conditioned stress are not affected by these neuroadaptive changes.
Brain Research – Elsevier
Published: Feb 7, 2000
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