N-acetylcysteine attenuates neuroinflammation associated depressive behavior induced by chronic unpredictable mild stress in rat.
Behav Brain Res. 2019 May 17 ;364:356-365. Epub 2019 Feb 14. PMID: 30772427
Depression is a heterogeneous disorder and associated with inflammatory responses. The influences of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on neuroinflammation associated depression-like behavior have not been investigated yet, and associated biochemical changes are currently unclear. Therefore, we assessed the effects of NAC on neuroinflammation associated depression-like behavior induced through chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) in rats. The antidepressant-like effect of NAC was depicted using the sucrose preference test and the forced swimming test (FST) while CUMS-induced alteration in the locomotor index was measured using the open field test (OFT) and actophotometer. Our results revealed that CUMS exposure markedly aggravated depression-like behavior, the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, and reduced the serotonin levels. One-week consecutive NAC (50 and 100 mg/kg, p.o.) or fluoxetine (10 mg/kg, p.o., a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) treatment significantly increased sucrose preference index, reduced immobility time in the FST, and the increased the number of squares crossed, number of rearing in the OFT and locomotion in the actophotometer in the CUMS-exposed rats. Moreover, the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the hippocampus as well as pre-frontal cortex were suppressed, and remarkably restored the serotonin levels by NAC (50 and 100 mg/kg, p.o.) or fluoxetine (10 mg/kg, p.o.) administration. However, NAC (25 mg/kg, p.o.) exerted insignificant protection against CUMS-induced depressive-like behavior and associated neuro-inflammation. This study demonstrates that NAC exhibited the antidepressant-like effect in the CUMS-exposedrats, which might be mediated by anti-inflammatory potential and restoring serotonergic responses in the stressed rats.