Antidepressant-like effect of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide in the forced swim test in rats

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004 Feb;77(2):303-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2003.11.001.


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH), a cosubstrate for energy transfer in the oxidative phosphorylation, has supposedly beneficial effects on central nervous system (CNS)-related diseases, e.g., shown in an open study with depressive patients. To our knowledge there are no data concerning the efficacy of NADH in animal tests. Acute effects of NADH and the precursor nicotinamide, compared to controls and the antidepressants desipramine and fluoxetine, were examined in the forced swim test (FST) in Wistar rats. NADH, but not nicotinamide, reduced immobility and increased swimming behaviour in the FST, with a minimum effective dose of 5 mg/kg. NADH-induced behavioural profile was similar to fluoxetine, but different from desipramine. Since NADH did not induce hyperlocomotion but even decreased motor activity in the open field test, the antidepressant-like effect cannot be attributed to an increase in motor activity. These data support an antidepressant potential of NADH.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents*
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / pharmacology
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / pharmacology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Desipramine / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Fluoxetine / pharmacology
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • NAD / pharmacology*
  • Niacinamide / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Swimming / psychology*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Fluoxetine
  • NAD
  • Niacinamide
  • Desipramine