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Helpless behavior (escape deficits) in streptozotocin-diabetic rats: resistance to antidepressant drugs

Helpless behavior (escape deficits) in streptozotocin-diabetic rats: resistance to antidepressant drugs

Psychoneuroendocrinology 14(1-2): 145-153

Using the learned helplessness model of depression in rats, the present study undertook to investigate the possibility of an impaired response to antidepressant drugs in diabetic animals. Experimental diabetes was induced by three intraperitoneal (IP) injections of streptozotocin (37.5, 37.5, 50 mg/kg, three days apart), four weeks before behavioral testing. Diabetic and non-diabetic rats were first exposed to 60 inescapable shocks. Forty-eight hours later and over three consecutive days, they were subjected to daily shuttle-box sessions for assessment of escape failures (helpless behavior). Twice daily (IP) injection of clomipramine (24 mg/kg), desipramine (24 mg/kg), imipramine (32 mg/kg) or clenbuterol (0.75 mg/kg) prevented escape deficits in the non-diabetic but not in the diabetic rats. However, this prevention was made possible in the diabetic rats by increasing the duration of the antidepressant treatment. Moreover, one week of insulin therapy restored operant escape responding to both the tricyclics and a beta-agonist. The inefficacy of clenbuterol (a central beta-agonist) in reversing helpless behavior in diabetic rats, along with the observation that triiodothyronine (T3) supplementation also restored the response to imipramine in the diabetic rats, suggests that thyroid-mediated alterations of central noradrenergic function might be a critical factor in the resistance or delayed response to antidepressants in experimental diabetes. These animal findings raise the possibility of a similar resistance to conventional antidepressants in depressed diabetic patients.

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Accession: 040260219

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PMID: 2544000

DOI: 10.1016/0306-4530(89)90064-4

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