Oral administration of inosine produces antidepressant-like effects in mice

Sci Rep. 2014 Feb 26;4:4199. doi: 10.1038/srep04199.


Inosine, a breakdown product of adenosine, has recently been shown to exert immunomodulatory and neuroprotective effects. We show here that the oral administration of inosine has antidepressant-like effects in two animal models. Inosine significantly enhanced neurite outgrowth and viability of primary cultured neocortical neurons, which was suppressed by adenosine A1 and A2A receptor agonists. Oral administration of inosine to mice transiently increased its concentration in the brain and enhanced neuronal proliferation in the dentate gyrus, accompanied by phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase and increase in transcript level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor. In stress models, oral inosine prevented an increase in immobility time in forced swim test after chronically unexpected stress and mitigated a reduction in sucrose preference after chronic social defeat stress. These results indicate that oral administration of inosine has the potential to prevent depressive disorder via adenosine receptors.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Depression / physiopathology*
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Inosine / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1 / metabolism*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1
  • Inosine