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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2005 Jan;177(3):307-14. Epub 2004 Jul 29.

Fluvoxamine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, suppresses tetrahydrobiopterin levels and dopamine as well as serotonin turnover in the mesoprefrontal system of mice.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Nagoya University, Tsuruma-cho, Showa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, 466-8550, Japan.



Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) is a coenzyme of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH), rate-limiting enzymes of monoamine biosynthesis. According to the monoamine hypothesis of depression, antidepressants will restore the function of the brain monoaminergic system, and BH4 concentration.


To investigate the effects of fluvoxamine on BH4 levels and dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) turnover in the mesoprefrontal system, incorporating two risk factors of depression, social isolation and acute environmental change.


Male ddY mice (6W) were divided into two housing groups, i.e. group-housing (eight animals per cage; 35 days), and isolation-housing (one per cage; 35 days), SC injected with fluvoxamine (20 or 40 mg/kg; days 29-35), and exposed to 20-min novelty stress (day 35). The levels of BH4, DA, homovanilic acid (HVA), 5-HT, and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) were measured in the prefrontal cortex and midbrain.


Under the group-housing condition, novelty stress significantly increased BH4 levels in both regions, and the HVA/DA ratio in the midbrain, whereas it did not change any parameters in either region under the isolation-housing condition. In the prefrontal cortex, fluvoxamine significantly decreased the 5-HIAA/5-HT ratio under the group-housing condition, and BH4 levels and the HVA/DA ratio under the isolation-housing condition. In the midbrain, fluvoxamine significantly decreased all parameters, except for an increasing in the 5-HIAA/5-HT ratio under the isolation-housing condition.


Isolation-housing suppressed the increase of BH4 levels and DA turnover elicited by novelty stress. Fluvoxamine suppressed BH4 levels, and DA and 5-HT turnover. Fluvoxamine may have altered DA turnover by suppressing BH4 levels.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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