Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Neural Transm. 2012 Jun;119(6):645-52. doi: 10.1007/s00702-011-0756-9. Epub 2012 Jan 4.

Sildenafil, a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor, enhances the antidepressant activity of amitriptyline but not desipramine, in the forced swim test in mice.

Author information

  • 1Department of Animal Physiology, Institute of Biology and Biochemistry, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Akademicka 19, 20-033 Lublin, Poland.


The cholinergic theory of depression highlights the involvement of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in the neurobiology of mood disorders. The present study was designed to investigate the effect of sildenafil, a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor which exhibits cholinomimetic properties, alone and in combination with scopolamine in the forced swim test in mice. Moreover, we assessed the ability of sildenafil to modify the antidepressant activity of two tricyclic antidepressants with distinct cholinolytic activity, amitriptyline and desipramine. Swim sessions were conducted by placing mice in glass cylinders filled with water for 6 min and the duration of behavioral immobility during the last 4 min of the test was evaluated. Locomotor activity was measured with photoresistor actimeters. To evaluate the potential pharmacokinetic interaction between amitriptyline and sildenafil, brain and serum concentrations of amitriptyline were determined by HPLC. Sildenafil (1.25-20 mg/kg) as well as scopolamine (0.5 mg/kg) and its combination with sildenafil (1.25 mg/kg) did not affect the total immobility time duration. However, joint administration of scopolamine with sildenafil at doses of 2.5 and 5 mg/kg significantly reduced immobility time as compared to control group. Moreover, co-administration of scopolamine with sildenafil at the highest dose (5 mg/kg) significantly decreased immobility time as compared to scopolamine-treated group. Sildenafil (1.25, 2.5 and 5 mg/kg) significantly enhanced the antidepressant activity of amitriptyline (5 mg/kg). No changes in anti-immobility action of desipramine (20 mg/kg) in combination with sildenafil (5, 10 and 20 mg/kg) were observed. Sildenafil did not affect amitriptyline level in both brain and serum. In conclusion, the present study suggests that sildenafil may enhance the activity of antidepressant drugs which exhibit cholinolytic activity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk