Duodenal calcium transporter mRNA expression in stressed male rats treated with diazepam, fluoxetine, reboxetine, or venlafaxine.
ABSTRACT Chronic stress has been reported to decrease bone density and intestinal calcium absorption, but its underlying mechanism remains elusive. Since long-term exposure to glucocorticoids, major stress hormones from adrenal gland, is known to downregulate the mRNA expression of intestinal calcium transporter TRPV6, the present study aimed to demonstrate whether decreases in mRNA expressions of duodenal calcium transporter genes were observed in male rats subjected to restraint stress for 4 weeks. The results from quantitative real-time PCR showed that restraint stress significantly downregulated the mRNA expressions of apical calcium channels (TRPV6 and Ca(v)1.3), cytoplasmic calcium-binding protein (calbindin-D(9k)), and basolateral calcium pump (PMCA(1b)), but not the expression of TRPV5 or NCX1. The mRNA expressions of paracellular genes, ZO-1, occludin, and claudin-3, were not altered by restraint stress. Since several antidepressant or anxiolytic drugs effectively alleviate stress-induced depressive and anxiety symptoms, we further hypothesized that these drugs may also enhance calcium transporter gene expression in stressed rats. As expected, 4-week daily administration of 10 mg/kg fluoxetine, 10 mg/kg reboxetine, or 10 mg/kg venlafaxine differentially increased calcium transporter mRNA expression in stressed rats, whereas 2 mg/kg diazepam had no such effect. It could, therefore, be concluded that 4-week restraint stress downregulated some important calcium transporter mRNA expression in the duodenal epithelial cells of male rats, which could be prevented by oral administration of fluoxetine, reboxetine, and venlafaxine. The present findings may be applied to help alleviate the stress-induced bone loss and osteoporosis by restoring intestinal calcium absorption to provide calcium for bone formation.