Depression is a complex psychiatric disorder characterized by anhedonia and feeling of sadness and chronic mild stress (CMS) seems to be a valuable animal model of depression. CMS animal model was induced and validated using behavioral studies. In the present study we investigated the neuro-metabolite changes occurring in prefrontal cortex and hippocampus during the onset of depression, in CMS rat model using in vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H MRS) at field strength of 7 T. Results showed that CMS caused depression-like behavior in rats, as indicated by the decrease in sucrose consumption and locomotor activity. (1)H MRS was performed in both control and CMS rats (n=10, in each group) and the quantitative assessment of the neurometabolites was done using LC model. Relative concentrations of all the metabolites along with the macromolecules were calculated for analysis. The results revealed a significant decrease of glutamate (Glu), glutamine (Gln), NAA+NAAG, Glx and GABA levels in both hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of CMS animals and an elevated level of myo-ionisitol (mI) and taurine (Tau) was observed only in hippocampus. These metabolite fluctuations revealed by proton MRS indicate that there might be change in the neuronal integrity of the glial cells and neurons within prefrontal cortex and hippocampus in CMS model of depression. The present study also suggests that there may be a degenerative process concerning the brain morphology in the CMS rats. The overall finding using (1)H MRS suggests that, there might be a major role of the glia and neuron in the onset of depression.
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