Electroconvulsive therapy is considered to be an effective treatment for severe depression. We have already shown that the antidepressant-like effects of tricyclic antidepressants in the rat forced swim test are blocked by repeated treatment with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). In the present study, we investigated the effect of repeated electroconvulsive stimuli on the forced swim test and on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein levels in ACTH-treated rats. Electroconvulsive stimuli (50 mA, 0.2 s) was administered 30 min after ACTH treatment (100 μg/rat, s.c.) once daily for 14 days. In both saline and ACTH-treated rats, repeated electroconvulsive stimuli for 6 or 14 days decreased the immobility time in the forced swim test and increased the BDNF protein levels in the hippocampus. However, repeated imipramine administration (10 mg/kg, i.p. for 14 days) had no effect on the hippocampus BDNF protein levels in ACTH-treated rats. These results suggest that electroconvulsive stimuli has decreasing effects of immobility time in the forced swim test in the tricyclic antidepressant-resistant depressive model of rats induced by repeated ACTH treatment, and that increased BDNF may be involved in this phenomenon.
- Adrenocorticotropic hormone
- Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
- Electroconvulsive stimuli
- Forced swim test
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