Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a growing problem worldwide. Though, the etiology remains unresolved, circadian rhythm disturbances are frequently observed in MDD and thus is speculated to play a key role herein. The present study focuses on circadian rhythm disturbances in the chronic mild stress (CMS) animal model of depression and examined whether the atypical antidepressant, agomelatine, which is mediating its action via melatonergic and serotonergic receptors, is capable of resynchronizing the perturbed rhythm. Melatonin is often used as a marker of the circadian phase, but the functional and behavioral output is dictated on a cellular level by the molecular clock, driven by the clock genes. We applied in situ hybridization histochemistry to measure the expression levels of the core clock genes, period (Per) 1 and 2 and bone and muscle ARNT-like protein 1 (Bmal1), in multiple brain regions believed to be implicated in depression. Agomelatine showed an antidepressant-like effect in the sucrose consumption test and an anxiolytic-like profile in the elevated zero maze. We found that CMS increased nighttime melatonin release in rats and that agomelatine attenuated this effect. Stress was shown to have a time and region-specific effect on clock gene expression in the brain. Treatment with agomelatine failed to normalize clock gene expression, and the observed modifying effect on gene expression did not associate with the antidepressant-like effect. This suggests that the antidepressant actions of agomelatine are mainly independent of circadian rhythm synchronization and, in this regard, not superior to traditional antidepressants tested in our model.
Psychopharmacology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 19, 2017
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