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Effects of pentoxifylline, 7-nitroindazole, and imipramine on tumor necrosis factor-α and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase enzyme activity in the hippocampus and frontal cortex of chronic mild-stress-exposed rats

Authors Mohamed B, Aboul-Fotouh S, Ibrahim EA, Shehata H, Mansour AA, Yassin N, El-Eraky W, Abdel-Tawab AM

Received 1 December 2012

Accepted for publication 7 January 2013

Published 24 May 2013 Volume 2013:9 Pages 697—708


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Bassim MSA Mohamed,1,6 Sawsan Aboul-Fotouh,2,5 Eman A Ibrahim,3 Hanan Shehata,4 Amal A Mansour,4 Nemat AZ Yassin,1 Wafaa El-Eraky,1 Ahmed M Abdel-Tawab2,5

1Department of Pharmacology, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt; 2Department of Pharmacology, 3Department of Pathology, 4Department of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 5Clinical Pharmacology Unit, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt; 6Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE, Canada

Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the role of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and the neuronal nitric oxide synthase enzyme in dysregulation of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) enzyme, and hence serotonin availability in chronic mild stress (CMS), an animal model of depression.
Methods: Rats were divided into five groups: two control and CMS-exposed for 6 weeks, and another three groups exposed to CMS and administered pentoxifylline 50 mg/kg/day intraperitoneally, 7-nitroindazole 40 mg/kg/day subcutaneously, or imipramine 20 mg/kg/day intraperitoneally for the previous 3 CMS weeks. Rats were assessed for neurochemical and immunohistochemical abnormalities.
Results: Pentoxifylline-, 7-nitroindazole-, and imipramine-treated rats showed amelioration of CMS-induced behavioral deficits that was accompanied by significant reduction in kynurenine/serotonin molar ratio and nitrates/nitrites in frontal cortex and hippocampus. In the pentoxifylline and 7-nitroindazole groups, serum TNF-α was reduced relative to the CMS group (18.54 ± 0.85 and 19.16 ± 1.54 vs 26.20 ± 1.83 pg/mL, respectively; P < 0.05). Exposure to CMS increased TNF-α and IDO immunohistochemical staining scores in both hippocampus and midbrain raphe nuclei. 7-Nitroindazole and pentoxifylline significantly (P < 0.05) reduced TNF-α immunostaining in hippocampus and raphe nuclei, with significant (P < 0.01) reduction of IDO immunostaining in raphe nuclei. Likewise, imipramine reduced TNF-α immunostaining (P < 0.05) in hippocampus.
Conclusion: Neuronal nitric oxide synthase and TNF-α may play a concerted role in modulating IDO enzyme activity in CMS-exposed rats and provide additional evidence for possible alternative approaches to switch the neurobiological processes in depression.

Keywords: chronic mild stress, TNF-α, kynurenine, serotonin, nNOS, immunohistochemistry

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