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J Physiol Pharmacol. 2006 Jun;57(2):217-29.

The synergistic effect of selective sigma receptor agonists and uncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonists in the forced swim test in rats.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków, Poland.


Data acquired to date show that some sigma receptor ligands reveal "antidepressant-like" activity in the forced swim test in mice and rats. Moreover, our preliminary results suggested that joint administration of sigma receptor ligands and amantadine (AMA, a glutamatergic/NMDA receptor antagonist) caused a positive interaction in the Porsolt test in rats, as had already been observed in the case of co-treatment with clinically active antidepressants and AMA. The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of combined administration of sigma1 or sigma2 receptor agonists, SA4503 or siramesine, respectively, and AMA or memantine (MEM) (uncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist). SA4503 or siramesine given jointly with MEM (as well as with AMA) decreased the immobility time in rats. The effect of SA4503 and AMA co-administration was antagonized by progesterone, a sigma1 receptor antagonistic neurosteroid. Combined treatment with siramesine and AMA was modified by neither progesterone nor BD1047 (a novel sigma antagonist with preferential affinity for sigma1 sites); but it was counteracted by sulpiride and prazosin (a dopamine D2- and an alpha1-adrenergic receptor antagonist, respectively). The "antidepressant-like" effect induced by siramesine and MEM was not antagonized by progesterone, but was attenuated by BD1047, sulpiride and prazosin. The obtained results give support to the hypothesis that sigma (particularly sigma1) receptors may be one of the possible mechanisms by which drugs induce antidepressant-like activity in the forced swim test, and that this effect may be enhanced by NMDA receptor antagonists. Combined treatment with sigma ligands and AMA or MEM (applied in the clinic) may be an alternative to the treatment of antidepressant-resistant depressive patients in the future.

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