Additive interaction between scopolamine and nitric oxide agents on immobility in the forced swim test but not exploratory activity in the hole-board
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The muscarinic cholinergic antagonist scopolamine has received an attention due to its unique antidepressant effects. However, the considerable adverse effects on nervous system limit the use of scopolamine as a psychiatric drug.
In order to overcome the limitations and increase the therapeutic effects of scopolamine, we decided to examine the effects of joint administration of sub-effective dose of scopolamine and the sub-effective dose of a nitric oxide (NO) precursor l-Arginine or a non-selective nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor l-NAME on depression- and anxiety-related behaviors in male NMRI mice.
To this aim, animal behavior was assessed in the forced swim test (FST) and hole-board apparatus.
Scopolamine (0.05 mg/kg) significantly decreased immobility time in the FST, suggesting an antidepressant-like effect. Moreover, l-Arginine (50 mg/kg) produced an antidepressant-like response in the FST and decreased head-dip counts in the hole-board apparatus, indicating an anxiety-like effect. The same doses of scopolamine and l-Arginine decreased the locomotor activity in mice. Joint administration of sub-effective dose of scopolamine (0.01 mg/kg) with a low dose of l-Arginine (25 mg/kg) or l-NAME (1 mg/kg) induced a profound antidepressant-like effect in the FST. These drug combinations did not influence on anxiety-related behaviors. Meanwhile, l-NAME alone did not alter the performance of mice in the FST and hole-board. Isobolographic analysis revealed an additive effect for scopolamine and l-Arginine or l-NAME.
Data suggests that NO agents could positively impact the therapeutic profile of scopolamine, because they might be useful for inducing antidepressant-like effect associated to scopolamine.
KeywordsScopolamine l-Arginine l-NAME Depression- and anxiety-related behaviors Mice
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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