Depression is common in Parkinson's disease (PD) but its response to classical antidepressants is not clear. The adenosine A2A antagonist istradefylline is effective in the treatment of the motor symptoms of PD but inhibition of the adenosine A2A receptor may also induce antidepressant-like effects.
We have investigated whether istradefylline might be effective in treating depression in PD using the forced swimming test (FST) and the tail suspension test (TST) in rodents.
Istradefylline significantly decreased immobility time in the FST in both rats and mice (0.16mg/kg and higher) with comparable efficacy to an equivalent dose of the tricyclic antidepressants, desipramine and imipramine. Both 8-OH-DPAT (5-HT1A agonist) and quinpirole (D2 agonist) also reduced the immobility time. The istradefylline-induced reduction of immobility time was attenuated by corticosterone. In addition, the combined use of a sub-threshold dose of istradefylline and the serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor venlafaxine ameliorated depression-like behavior in the mouse FST. In the mouse TST, istradefylline (0.08mg/kg and higher) decreased immobility time. Moreover, co-administration of istradefylline with paroxetine or fluoxetine (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or deprenyl (MAO-B inhibitor) at doses that did not show antidepressant-like effects when administered alone, resulted in a significant reduction in immobility time.
Istradefylline alone or co-administered with currently available antidepressants, may be useful for the treatment of depression as well as motor symptoms of PD. Its effects might be, at least in part, attributable to modulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.