Brief treatment with the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist mifepristone normalises the corticosterone-induced reduction of adult hippocampal neurogenesis.

Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, Centre for Neuroscience, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Journal of Neuroendocrinology (Impact Factor: 3.51). 09/2006; 18(8):629-31. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2006.01455.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The glucocorticoid receptor antagonist mifepristone has been shown to rapidly and effectively ameliorate symptoms of psychotic major depression. To better understand its mechanism, we investigated mifepristone's cellular effects, and found that it rapidly reversed a chronic corticosterone-induced reduction of adult neurogenesis in rats. Unlike other antidepressants, mifepristone is particularly potent in a high corticosterone environment. These data indicate that similarly to its clinical efficacy, mifepristone's effects on adult neurogenesis are rapid and positive, and may therefore be important for its mechanism of action.

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    ABSTRACT: Most psychiatric disorders are characterized by emotional memory or learning disturbances. Chronic mild stress (CMS) is a common animal model for stress-induced depression. Here we examined whether 3 days of treatment using the CB1/2 receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 could ameliorate the effects of CMS on emotional learning (ie, conditioned avoidance and extinction), long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampal-accumbens pathway, and depression-like symptoms (ie, coping with stress behavior, anhedonia, and weight changes). We also examined whether the ameliorating effects of WIN55,212-2 on behavior and physiology after CMS are mediated by CB1 and glucocorticoid receptors (GRs). Rats were exposed to CMS or handled on days 1–21. The agonist WIN55,212-2 or vehicle were administered on days 19–21 (IP; 0.5 mg/kg) and behavioral and electrophysiological measures were taken on days 23 and 28. The CB1 receptor antagonist AM251 (IP; 0.3 mg/kg) or the GR antagonist RU-38486 (IP; 10 mg/kg) were co-administered with WIN55,212-2. Our results show that CMS significantly modified physiological and behavioral reactions, as observed by the impairment in avoidance extinction and LTP in the hippocampal-accumbens pathway, and the alterations in depression-like symptoms, such as coping with stress behavior, weight gain, and sucrose consumption. The most significant effect observed in this study was that 3 days of WIN55,212-2 administration prevented the CMS-induced alterations in emotional memory (ie, extinction) and plasticity. This effect was mediated by CB1 receptors as the CB1 receptor antagonist AM251 prevented the ameliorating effects of WIN55,212-2 on extinction and LTP. The GR antagonist RU-38486 also prevented the CMS-induced alterations in extinction and plasticity, and when co-administered with WIN55,212-2, the preventive effects after CMS were maintained. The findings suggest that enhancing cannabinoid signaling could represent a novel approach to the treatment of cognitive deficits that accompany stress-related depression. Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication, 13 November 2013; doi:10.1038/npp.2013.292
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