Alarin-induced antidepressant-like effects and their relationship with hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis activity and brain derived neurotrophic factor levels in mice.Peptides. 2014 Jun; 56:163-72.P
Alarin is a newly identified member of the galanin family of peptides. Galanin has been shown to exert regulatory effects on depression. Similar to galanin in distribution, alarin is also expressed in the medial amygdala and hypothalamus, i.e., regions interrelated with depression. However, it remains a puzzle whether alarin is involved in depression. Accordingly, we established the depression-like mouse model using behavioral tests to ascertain the possible involvement of alarin, with fluoxetine as a positive control. With the positive antidepressant-like effects of alarin, we further examined its relationship to HPA axis activity and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in different brain areas in a chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) paradigm. In the acute studies, alarin produced a dose-related reduction in the immobility duration in tail suspension test (TST) in mice. In the open-field test, intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injection of alarin (1.0 nmol) did not impair locomotion or motor coordination in the treated mice. In the CUMS paradigm, alarin administration (1.0 nmol, i.c.v.) significantly improved murine behaviors (FST and locomotor activity), which was associated with a decrease in corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) mRNA levels in the hypothalamus, as well as a decline in serum levels of CRH, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and corticosterone (CORT), all of which are key hormones of the HPA axis. Furthermore, alarin upregulated BDNF mRNA levels in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. These findings suggest that alarin may potentiate the development of new antidepressants, which would be further secured with the identification of its receptor(s).