The slow onset of antidepressant drugs' effects is thought to reflect the time required for the development of adaptive changes such as desensitization of presynaptic autoreceptors controlling the release of neurotransmitters. Using in vivo microdialysis in conscious rats, we studied the effect of a continuous infusion of the selective noradrenaline (NA) reuptake inhibitor reboxetine on extracellular concentrations of NA. Doses of 10 mg/kg/day reboxetine through subcutaneous osmotic pumps for 2 days increased extracellular NA by 272% in the dorsal hippocampus (DH) of rats. NA rose significantly more in rats given reboxetine for 7 (469%) and 14 (437%) days. Intraperitoneal injection of 30 μg/kg clonidine, an α2-adrenoceptor agonist, reduced the release of NA to 49% of basal levels in rats given vehicle or reboxetine for 2 days, but this effect was markedly less in rats given reboxetine for 7 and 14 days. Likewise, the effect of intrahippocampal infusion of clonidine (0.05 and 0.2 μM) on extracellular NA was significantly attenuated in rats given reboxetine for 7 and 14 days, whereas the injection of 0.6 nmol clonidine into the locus coeruleus caused similar reductions of extracellular NA in the DH and prefrontal cortex (PFC) of rats infused with vehicle (DH -64%; PFC -42%) and reboxetine (DH -45%; PFC -28%) for 14 days. The results indicate that chronic treatment markedly enhances the effect of reboxetine on extracellular NA in the DH and suggest that this effect may be due to the desensitization of hippocampal α2-adrenoceptors.
- Autoreceptor desensitization
- Locus coeruleus
- Noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors
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