Depression is a brain disorder and there is still only a partial understanding of its underlying pathophysiology. Antidepressant medications with a fast onset have not yet been developed. In addition to the monoaminergic systems, the brain glutaminergic system has been implicated in the etiology of depression. Animal studies of depression have gained importance because they permit a more invasive manipulation of the subjects than human studies. In the present study, we measured the densities of the brain regional metabotropic glutaminergic receptor 5 (mGluR5) in the Flinders Sensitive Line (FSL) rat model of depression and two groups of control rats, the Flinders Resistant Line (FRL) and Sprague Dawley (SPD), the parent strain for both the FSL and FRL rats. The FSL rats showed lower densities of mGluR5 in many brain regions compared to either the SPD and/or FRL rats. In addition, the densities in the FRL rats were larger than in the SPD rats, suggesting possible problems in using FRL rats as controls. The presented data suggest that mGluR5 is lower in animal models of depression which could be related to the cognitive and emotional dysfunctions in the FSL rat model of depression and could be relevant to a better understanding of depression in humans.
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