Impact of imipramine on proteome of rat primary glial cells

J Neuroimmunol. 2018 Jul 15:320:25-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2018.04.008. Epub 2018 Apr 17.


Microglia and astrocytes, two types of glial cells are known to be important targets for antidepressant drugs. Here we used a comprehensive proteomic analysis to examine the effect of imipramine on rat primary mixed glial culture. The two-dimensional differential gel electrophoresis method allowed us to identify 62 proteins that were altered by imipramine. Functional analysis revealed that imipramine influenced the level of proteins involved in oxidative stress; in particular, it elevated the level of glutathione transferases. Imipramine upregulated proteins related to glycolysis but down-regulated many mitochondrial proteins including enzymes involved in oxidative phosphorylation. Mitochondrial dysfunction, especially decrease of mitochondrial membrane potential can be counted as a side effect triggered by imipramine. Imipramine induced lowering of chaperone level and alterations suggesting impaired protein synthesis could be associated with increased apoptosis. One of the most pronounced effect of imipramine is the reduction of vimentin level, this protein is engaged in majority of biological processes which were found to be affected by imipramine. Many imipramine regulated proteins, including chaperones, cathepsins and annexins are involved in immune responses. Additionally, imipramine influenced proteins associated with phagocytosis and cell migration. Overall these findings indicate that imipramine produces complex effect on glial cells, primarily on microglia and suggest their transition towards a more quiescent, metabolically less demanding phenotype.

Keywords: 2D-DIGE; Imipramine; Microglia; Mixed glial cell culture; Proteome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / pharmacology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Imipramine / pharmacology*
  • Neuroglia / drug effects*
  • Proteome / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Proteome
  • Imipramine