Expression of brain derived neurotrophic factor, activity-regulated cytoskeleton protein mRNA, and enhancement of adult hippocampal neurogenesis in rats after sub-chronic and chronic treatment with the triple monoamine re-uptake inhibitor tesofensine

Eur J Pharmacol. 2007 Jan 26;555(2-3):115-21. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2006.10.029. Epub 2006 Oct 19.


The changes of gene expression resulting from long-term exposure to monoamine antidepressant drugs in experimental animals are key to understanding the mechanisms of action of this class of drugs in man. Many of these genes and their products are either relevant biomarkers or directly involved in structural changes that are perhaps necessary for the antidepressant effect. Tesofensine is a novel triple monoamine reuptake inhibitor that acts to increase noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine neurotransmission. This study was undertaken to examine the effect of sub-chronic (5 days) and chronic (14 days) administration of Tesofensine on the expression of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and activity-regulated cytoskeleton protein (Arc) in the rat hippocampus. Furthermore, hippocampi from the same animals were used to investigate the effect on cell proliferation by means of Ki-67- and NeuroD-immunoreactivity. We find that chronic, but not sub-chronic treatment with Tesofensine increases BDNF mRNA in the CA3 region of the hippocampus (35%), and Arc mRNA in the CA1 of the hippocampus (65%). Furthermore, the number of Ki-67- and neuroD-positive cells increased after chronic, but not sub-chronic treatment. This study shows that Tesofensine enhances hippocampal gene expression and new cell formation indicative for an antidepressant potential of this novel drug substance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic / pharmacology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Male
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurotransmitter Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Synaptophysin / genetics


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurotransmitter Uptake Inhibitors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Synaptophysin
  • activity regulated cytoskeletal-associated protein
  • Tesofensine