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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2013 Aug;128(2):107-13. doi: 10.1111/acps.12166. Epub 2013 Jun 17.

No effect of acute tryptophan depletion on phosphodiesterase inhibition--related improvements of short-term object memory in male Wistar rats.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.



To further explore the implication of the serotonin (5-HT) system in the improvement of rat short-term object recognition after administration of the type 2 phosphodiesterase inhibitor (PDE-I) BAY 60-7550 and the type 5 PDE-I vardenafil, the effect of PDE2 and PDE5 inhibition upon central amino acid levels, 5-HT, and related parameters were measured after applying acute tryptophan depletion (ATD).


Wistar rats were orally administered saline or a protein-carbohydrate mixture with or without tryptophan (TRP). TRP-depleted animals additionally received an oral vehicle injection or the PDE inhibitors BAY 60-7550 or vardenafil at a dose known to improve object memory performance.


Although ATD significantly decreased TRP levels in the hippocampus 2 h after administration, 5-HT levels appeared only moderately affected, without any changes observed in the amount of 5-HIAA or 5-HT turnover rate. Moreover, no effects of PDE inhibition upon 5-HT or related parameters were observed.


Changes in 5-HT neurotransmitter activity might be excluded as a potential underlying mechanism of the previously reported ability of PDE inhibitors to improve short-term object memory in rats. It is suggested that a decrease in cerebral blood flow potentially underlies ATD-induced object memory deficits, most likely due to decrease in NO synthesis.

© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


acute tryptophan depletion; phosphodiesterase inhibitors; rat object memory; serotonin

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