Behavioral and neurochemical characterization of Tr kappa B-dependent mechanisms of agomelatine in glucocorticoid receptor-impaired mice

F. Boulle, H. Velthuis, K. Koedam, H. W. Steinbusch, D. L. A. van den Hove, G. Kenis, C. Gabriel, E. Mocaer, B. Franc, D. Rognan, R. Mongeau, L. Lanfumey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Web of Science)


Growing evidence indicates that impairment of the stress response, in particular the negative feedback regulation mechanism exerted by the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, might be responsible for the hippocampal atrophy observed in depressed patients. Antidepressants, possibly through the activation of BDNF signaling, may enhance neuroplasticity and restore normal hippocampal functions. In this context, glucocorticoid receptor-impaired (GR-i) mice-a transgenic mouse model of reduced GR-induced negative feedback regulation of the HPA axis-were used to investigate the role of BDNF/TrkB signaling in the behavioral and neurochemical effects of the new generation antidepressant drug, agomelatine. GR-i mice exhibited marked alterations in depressive-like and anxiety-like behaviors, together with a decreased cell proliferation and altered levels of neuroplastic and epigenetic markers in the hippocampus. GR-i mice and their wild-type littermates were treated for 21 days with vehicle, agomelatine (50 mg/kg/day; i.p) or the TrkB inhibitor Ana-12 (0.5 mg/kg/day, i.p) alone, or in combination with agomelatine. Chronic treatment with agomelatine resulted in antidepressant like effects in GR-i mice and reversed the deficit in hippocampal cell proliferation and some of the alterations of mRNA plasticity markers in GR-i mice. Ana-12 blocked the effect of agomelatine on motor activity as well as its ability to restore a normal hippocampal cell proliferation and expression of neurotrophic factors. Altogether, our findings indicate that agomelatine requires TrkB signaling to reverse some of the molecular and behavioral alterations caused by HPA axis impairment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-77
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • Antidepressants
  • Glucocorticoid
  • Hippocampus
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Tr kappa B inhibitor

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