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Neuropharmacology. 2003 May;44(6):801-9.

Neuroprotective properties of tianeptine: interactions with cytokines.

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  • 1INSERM E 9935, Hôpital Robert-Debré, 48 Bd Sérurier, 75019 Paris, France.


Tianeptine is an antidepressant with proven clinical efficacy and effects on hippocampal plasticity. Hypoxia increased lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release from cortical neuronal cultures, and tianeptine (1, 10 and 100 microM) inhibited LDH release as efficiently as the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist, MK-801. However, tianeptine did not block apoptosis in cultured cortical neurones caused by NMDA, but reduced apoptosis when interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) was included with NMDA. In 5-day old mice, intracerebral injection of ibotenate induced reproducible lesions in cortex and white matter. Lesion size was markedly reduced by co-administration of MK-801 (1 mg/kg i.p.) but neither by tianeptine or its enantiomers administered acutely (1, 3 or 10 mg/kg i.p.) nor by tianeptine administered chronically (10 mg/kg i.p. for 5 days). Chronic administration of IL-1beta (10 ng/kg i.p. for 5 days) prior to ibotenate injection exacerbated lesion size in cortex and white matter, and this exacerbation was prevented by chronic pre-treatment with tianeptine (10 mg/kg i.p.) or by acute administration of tianeptine (10 mg/kg i.p.) concomitantly with ibotenate. Thus tianeptine has neuroprotective effects against hypoxia in tissue culture and against the deleterious effects of cytokines in cortex and white matter, but not against NMDA receptor-mediated excitotoxicity.

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