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Eur J Pharmacol. 2006 Feb 27;532(3):265-9. Epub 2006 Feb 14.

Neonatal citalopram exposure produces lasting changes in behavior which are reversed by adult imipramine treatment.

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Department of Psychiatry & Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216-4505, USA.


Neonatal exposure to antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as citalopram, induces behavioral disturbances which persist in mature rats. These disturbances have been proposed to model the symptoms of endogenous depression. However, to date there is scant evidence for the predictive validity of any of these behaviors in response to adult antidepressant treatments. In order to directly assess the predictive validity of the early antidepressant exposure paradigm, the present study examined whether the behavioral abnormalities observed in adult animals exposed as neonates to citalopram can be reversed by adult antidepressant treatment with the prototypic antidepressant, imipramine. As noted earlier, neonatal citalopram exposure robustly increased locomotor activity and impaired male sexual behavior in adult rats. These behavioral changes were reversed following chronic adult imipramine treatment. No such reversal was observed in handled, saline treated rats. The present data support the hypothesis that some of the lasting behavioral abnormalities induced by early antidepressant exposure are sensitive to clinically relevant antidepressant treatments thus adding a measure of predictive validity to this paradigm as a model of these depressive symptoms.

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