Long-term imipramine withdrawal induces a depressive-like behaviour in the forced swimming test.Eur J Pharmacol. 2004 May 10; 492(1):61-3.EJ
Chronic antidepressant treatments enhance dopaminergic neurotransmission in the mesolimbic dopamine system. We suggested that this potentiation might underlie both the antidepressant therapeutic effect and the antidepressant-induced switch from depression to mania. In a recent study we have shown a reversal of the imipramine-induced dopaminergic supersensitivity after 40 days of chronic imipramine withdrawal. We interpreted this result suggesting that the mood-switches observed in bipolar patients following antidepressant treatment and subsequent withdrawal, i.e. mania followed by rebound depression, might depend upon parallel changes in the mesolimbic dopamine system sensitivity. On this basis, one might predict a depressive-like behaviour after long-term interruption of a chronic treatment with imipramine. To test this hypothesis we examined the behaviour of rats treated with chronic imipramine 40 days after treatment interruption in an animal model of depression, the forced swimming test. The results show that animals treated with chronic imipramine, 40 days after treatment interruption, display a depressive-like behaviour in the forced swimming test, as indicated by their increased immobility with respect to the control group.