Signaling pathways underlying the antidepressant-like effect of inosine in mice

Purinergic Signal. 2017 Jun;13(2):203-214. doi: 10.1007/s11302-016-9551-2. Epub 2016 Dec 13.


Inosine is a purine nucleoside formed by the breakdown of adenosine that elicits an antidepressant-like effect in mice through activation of adenosine A1 and A2A receptors. However, the signaling pathways underlying this effect are largely unknown. To address this issue, the present study investigated the influence of extracellular-regulated protein kinase (ERK)1/2, Ca2+/calmoduline-dependent protein kinase (CaMKII), protein kinase A (PKA), phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt, and glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (GSK-3β) modulation in the antiimmobility effect of inosine in the tail suspension test (TST) in mice. In addition, we attempted to verify if inosine treatment was capable of altering the immunocontent and phosphorylation of the transcription factor cyclic adenosine monophosphatate (cAMP) response-binding element protein (CREB) in mouse prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Intracerebroventricular administration of U0126 (5 μg/mouse, MEK1/2 inhibitor), KN-62 (1 μg/mouse, CaMKII inhibitor), H-89 (1 μg/mouse, PKA inhibitor), and wortmannin (0.1 μg/mouse, PI3K inhibitor) prevented the antiimmobility effect of inosine (10 mg/kg, intraperitoneal (i.p.)) in the TST. Also, administration of a sub-effective dose of inosine (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.) in combination with a sub-effective dose of AR-A014418 (0.001 μg/mouse, GSK-3β inhibitor) induced a synergic antidepressant-like effect. None of the treatments altered locomotor activity of mice. Moreover, 24 h after a single administration of inosine (10 mg/kg, i.p.), CREB phosphorylation was increased in the hippocampus. Our findings provided new evidence that the antidepressant-like effect of inosine in the TST involves the activation of PKA, PI3K/Akt, ERK1/2, and CaMKII and the inhibition of GSK-3β. These results contribute to the comprehension of the mechanisms underlying the purinergic system modulation and indicate the intracellular signaling pathways involved in the antidepressant-like effect of inosine in a preclinical test of depression.

Keywords: CREB; Depression; Inosine; Protein kinases; Signaling pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Exploratory Behavior / drug effects
  • Hindlimb Suspension
  • Inosine / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Stress, Psychological


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Inosine