Abstract Title:

Monosodium glutamate, a food additive, induces depressive-like and anxiogenic-like behaviors in young rats.

Abstract Source:

Life Sci. 2014 Jun 27 ;107(1-2):27-31. Epub 2014 May 5. PMID: 24802127

Abstract Author(s):

Caroline B Quines, Suzan G Rosa, Juliana T Da Rocha, Bibiana M Gai, Cristiani F Bortolatto, Marta Maria M F Duarte, Cristina W Nogueira

Article Affiliation:

Caroline B Quines


UNLABELLED: Monosodium glutamate (MSG) has been the target of research due to its toxicological effects.

AIMS: We investigated the depressive- and anxiogenic-like behaviors in rats exposed to neonatal subcutaneous injection of MSG. The involvement of the serotonergic system, by measuring [(3)H] serotonin (5-HT) uptake in cerebral cortices, and the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, by determining serum adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and corticosterone levels, was also examined.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Male and female newborn Wistar rats were divided into control and MSG groups, which received, respectively, a daily subcutaneous injection of saline (0.9%) or MSG (4 g/kg/day) from the 1st to 5th postnatal day. The behavioral tests [spontaneous locomotor activity, contextual fear conditioning, and forced swimming test (FST)] were performed from the 60th to 64th postnatal day. MSG-treated animals showed alteration in the spontaneous locomotor activity, an increase in the number of fecal pellets and the number of animal's vocalizations and urine occurrence, and a decrease in the grooming time.

KEY FINDINGS: The MSG exposure increased the immobility time in the FST and the freezing reaction in the contextual fear conditioning. Additionally, MSG treatment increased the [(3)H]5-HT uptake in the cerebral cortices of rats and induced a deregulation of HPA axis function (by increasing serum ACTH and corticosterone levels).

SIGNIFICANCE: In conclusion MSG-treated rats are more susceptible to develop anxiogenic- and depressive-like behaviors, which could be related to a dysfunction in the serotonergic system.

Study Type : Animal Study

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