We previously reported that the investigational multimodal antidepressant, vortioxetine, reversed 5-HT depletion-induced memory deficits while escitalopram and duloxetine did not. The present report studied the effects of vortioxetine and the potential impact of its 5-HT1A receptor agonist and 5-HT3 receptor antagonist properties on 5-HT depletion-induced memory deficits. Recognition and spatial working memory were assessed in the object recognition (OR) and Y-maze spontaneous alternation (SA) tests, respectively. 5-HT depletion was induced in female Long-Evans rats using 4-cholro-DL-phenylalanine methyl ester HCl (PCPA) and receptor occupancies were determined by ex vivo autoradiography. Rats were acutely dosed with vortioxetine, ondansetron (5-HT3 receptor antagonist) or flesinoxan (5-HT1A receptor agonist). The effects of chronic vortioxetine administration on 5-HT depletion-induced memory deficits were also assessed. 5-HT depletion reliably impaired memory performance in both the tests. Vortioxetine reversed PCPA-induced memory deficits dose-dependently with a minimal effective dose (MED) ≤0.1mg/kg (∼80% 5-HT3 receptor occupancy; OR) and ≤3.0mg/kg (5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, 5-HT3 receptor occupancy: ∼15%, 60%, 95%) in SA. Ondansetron exhibited a MED ≤3.0μg/kg (∼25% 5-HT3 receptor occupancy; OR), but was inactive in the SA test. Flesinoxan had a MED ≤1.0mg/kg (∼25% 5-HT1A receptor occupancy; SA); only 1.0mg/kg ameliorated deficits in the NOR. Chronic p.o. vortioxetine administration significantly improved memory performance in OR and occupied 95%, 66%, and 9.5% of 5-HT3, 5-HT1B, and 5-HT1A receptors, respectively. Vortioxetine's effects on SA performance may involve 5-HT1A receptor agonism, but not 5-HT3 receptor antagonism, whereas the effects on OR performance may involve 5-HT3 receptor antagonism and 5-HT1A receptor agonism.
Keywords: 5-HT depletion; 5-HT(1A) receptor; 5-HT(3) receptor; Cognitive dysfunction; Major depressive disorder; Vortioxetine.
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