Harmine and imipramine promote antioxidant activities in prefrontal cortex and hippocampus

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2010 Sep-Oct;3(5):325-31. doi: 10.4161/oxim.3.5.13109. Epub 2010 Sep 1.


A growing body of evidence has suggested that reactive oxygen species (ROS) may play an important role in the physiopathology of depression. Evidence has pointed to the β-carboline harmine as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of depression. The present study we evaluated the effects of acute and chronic administration of harmine (5, 10 and 15 mg/kg) and imipramine (10, 20 and 30 mg/kg) or saline in lipid and protein oxidation levels and superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activities in rat prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Acute and chronic treatments with imipramine and harmine reduced lipid and protein oxidation, compared to control group in prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. The SOD and CAT activities increased with acute and chronic treatments with imipramine and harmine, compared to control group in prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. In conclusion, our results indicate positive effects of imipramine antidepressant and β-carboline harmine of oxidative stress parameters, increasing SOD and CAT activities and decreasing lipid and protein oxidation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Harmine / therapeutic use*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Imipramine / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Harmine
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Imipramine