Glutamatergic system and mTOR-signaling pathway participate in the antidepressant-like effect of inosine in the tail suspension test

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2017 Oct;124(10):1227-1237. doi: 10.1007/s00702-017-1753-4. Epub 2017 Jul 10.


Glutamatergic system and mTOR signaling pathway have been proposed to be important targets for pharmacological treatment of major depressive disorder. Previous studies have shown that inosine, an endogenous purine, is able to exert a remarkable antidepressant-like effect in mice. Nevertheless, the role of glutamatergic system and mTOR in this effect was not previously determined. This study was designed to investigate the possible modulation of NMDA receptors (NMDAR), AMPA receptors (AMPAR) and mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling pathway in the inosine anti-immobility effect in the tail suspension test (TST) in mice. Pre-treatment of mice with NMDA (0.1 pmol/mouse, NMDAR agonist, i.c.v.) and D-serine (30 μg/mouse, NMDAR co-agonist, i.c.v.) prevented inosine (10 mg/kg, i.p.) anti-immobility effect in the TST. In addition, a synergistic antidepressant-like effect was observed when a sub-effective dose of inosine (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.) was combined with sub-effective doses of NMDAR antagonists MK-801 (0.001 mg/kg, p.o.) or ketamine (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.). Conversely, the antidepressant-like effect elicited by inosine was not altered by pre-treatment with AMPAR antagonist, DNQX (2.5 μg/mouse, i.c.v.). The mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin (0.2 nmol/mouse, i.c.v.) prevented the inosine anti-immobility effect in the TST. Noteworthy, inosine treatment did not change the immunocontent of the synaptic proteins PSD95, GluA1 and synapsin I. Mice locomotor activity assessed by open-field test, was not altered by treatments. Taken together, this study shows a pivotal role of NMDAR inhibition and mTORC1 activation for inosine antidepressant-like effect and extends the knowledge concerning the molecular mechanism and potential of inosine for antidepressant strategies.

Keywords: Antidepressant; Glutamatergic system; Inosine; mTOR.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disks Large Homolog 4 Protein / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agents / pharmacology
  • Exploratory Behavior / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Hindlimb Suspension / methods
  • Inosine / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Disks Large Homolog 4 Protein
  • Dlg4 protein, mouse
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agents
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Inosine
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • glutamate receptor ionotropic, AMPA 1