Chronic treatment with the selective NOP receptor antagonist [Nphe 1, Arg 14, Lys 15]N/OFQ-NH 2 (UFP-101) reverses the behavioural and biochemical effects of unpredictable chronic mild stress in rats.Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009 Dec; 207(2):173-89.P
The present study was designed to assess the antidepressant effects of UFP-101, a selective nociceptin/orphanin FQ peptide (NOP) receptor antagonist, in a validated animal model of depression: the chronic mild stress (CMS).
MATERIALS AND METHODS AND RESULTS
UFP-101 (5, 10 and 20 nmol/rat; i.c.v., once a day for 21 days) dose- and time-dependently reinstated sucrose consumption in stressed animals without affecting the same parameter in non-stressed ones. In the forced swimming test, UFP-101 reduced immobility of stressed rats from day 8 of treatment. After a 3-week treatment, rats were killed for biochemical evaluations. UFP-101 abolished increase in serum corticosterone induced by CMS and reverted changes in central 5-HT/5-HIAA ratio. The behavioural and biochemical effects of UFP-101 mimicked those of imipramine, the reference antidepressant drug, administered at the dose of 15 mg/kg (i.p.). Co-administration of nociceptin/orphanin FQ (5 nmol/rat, from day 12 to 21) prevented the effects of UFP-101. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor mRNA and protein in hippocampus were not reduced by CMS nor did UFP-101 modify these parameters.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
This study demonstrated that chronic treatment with UFP-101 produces antidepressant-like effects in rats subjected to CMS supporting the proposal that NOP receptors represent a candidate target for the development of innovative antidepressant drugs.