Serotonergic receptor mechanisms underlying antidepressant-like action in the progesterone withdrawal model of hormonally induced depression in rats

Yan Li, Kasper F. Raaby, Connie Sánchez, Maria Gulinello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


Hormonally induced mood disorders such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) are characterized by a range of physical and affective symptoms including anxiety, irritability, anhedonia, social withdrawal and depression. Studies demonstrated rodent models of progesterone withdrawal (PWD) have a high level of constructive and descriptive validity to model hormonally-induced mood disorders in women. Here we evaluate the effects of several classes of antidepressants in PWD female Long-Evans rats using the forced swim test (FST) as a measure of antidepressant activity. The study included fluoxetine, duloxetine, amitriptyline and an investigational multimodal antidepressant, vortioxetine (5-HT3, 5-HT7 and 5-HT1D receptor antagonist; 5-HT1B receptor partial agonist; 5-HT1A receptor agonist; inhibitor of the serotonin transporter (SERT)). After 14 days of administration, amitriptyline and vortioxetine significantly reduced immobility in the FST whereas fluoxetine and duloxetine were ineffective. After 3 injections over 48h, neither fluoxetine nor duloxetine reduced immobility, whereas amitriptyline and vortioxetine significantly reduced FST immobility during PWD. When administered acutely during PWD, the 5-HT1A receptor agonist, flesinoxan, significantly reduced immobility, whereas the 5-HT1A receptor antagonist, WAY-100635, increased immobility. The 5-HT3 receptor antagonist, ondansetron, significantly reduced immobility, whereas the 5-HT3 receptor agonist, SR-57227, increased immobility. The 5-HT7 receptor antagonist, SB-269970, was inactive, although the 5-HT7 receptor agonist, AS-19, significantly increased PWD-induced immobility. None of the compounds investigated (ondansetron, flesinoxan and SB-269970) improved the effect of fluoxetine during PWD. These data indicate that modulation of specific 5-HT receptor subtypes is critical for manipulating FST immobility in this model of hormone-induced depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)520-528
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Publication statusPublished - Sep 25 2013



  • Flesinoxan
  • Forced swim test
  • Ondansetron
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Progesterone withdrawal
  • Vortioxetine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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