Alpha2-adrenergic receptor blockade markedly potentiates duloxetine- and fluoxetine-induced increases in noradrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin levels in the frontal cortex of freely moving rats

J Neurochem. 1997 Dec;69(6):2616-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.1997.69062616.x.


Evidence exists that a reinforcement in monoaminergic transmission in the frontal cortex (FCX) is associated with antidepressant (AD) properties. Herein, we examined whether blockade of alpha2-adrenergic receptors modified the influence of monoamine reuptake inhibitors on FCX levels of serotonin (5-HT), noradrenaline (NAD), and dopamine (DA). The selective alpha2-adrenergic receptor agonist S 18616 (0.16 mg/kg, s.c.) suppressed extracellular levels of NAD, DA, and 5-HT (by 100, 51, and 63%, respectively) in single dialysates of FCX of freely moving rats. In contrast, the selective alpha2-adrenergic receptor antagonists atipamezole (0.16 mg/kg, s.c.) and 1-(2-pyrimidinyl)piperazine (1-PP; 2.5 mg/kg, s.c.) increased levels of NAD (by 180 and 185%, respectively) and DA (by 130 and 90%, respectively), without affecting 5-HT levels. Duloxetine (5.0 mg/kg, s.c.), a mixed inhibitor of 5-HT and NAD reuptake, and fluoxetine (10.0 mg/kg, s.c.), a selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitor, both increased levels of 5-HT (by 150 and 120%, respectively), NAD (by 400 and 100%, respectively), and DA (by 115 and 55%, respectively). Atipamezole (0.16 mg/kg, s.c.) markedly potentiated the influence of duloxetine and fluoxetine on levels of 5-HT (by 250 and 330%, respectively), NAD (by 1,030 and 215%, respectively), and DA (by 370 and 170%, respectively). 1-PP similarly potentiated the influence of duloxetine on 5-HT, NAD, and DA levels (by 290, 1,320, and 600%, respectively). These data demonstrate that alpha2-adrenergic receptors tonically inhibit NAD and DA and phasically inhibit 5-HT release in the FCX and that blockade of alpha2-adrenergic receptors strikingly potentiates the increase in FCX levels of 5-HT, NAD, and DA elicited by reuptake inhibitors. Concomitant alpha2-adrenergic receptor antagonism and inhibition of monoamine uptake may thus provide a mechanism allowing for a marked increase in the efficacy of AD agents.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Biogenic Monoamines / metabolism*
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Duloxetine Hydrochloride
  • Fluoxetine / pharmacology*
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Serotonin / metabolism
  • Thiophenes / pharmacology*


  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors
  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
  • Biogenic Monoamines
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Thiophenes
  • Fluoxetine
  • Serotonin
  • Duloxetine Hydrochloride
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine