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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2008 Mar;89(1):36-45. Epub 2007 Nov 5.

Additional evidence for anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like activities of saredutant (SR48968), an antagonist at the neurokinin-2 receptor in various rodent-models.

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  • 1Sanofi-Aventis Research & Development, Psychopharmacology Department, 31 Avenue Paul Vaillant-Couturier, 92220 Bagneux, France.


Central tachykinins have been shown to play a role in the modulation of stress-related behaviours. Saredutant, a tachykinin NK2 receptor antagonist, displayed mixed anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like activities in rodents. The present study aimed at further characterizing its psychotropic properties. Saredutant was tested in the rat social interaction test to further confirm its anxiolytic-like activity, and in a variety of behavioural models sensitive to antidepressant drugs. In the rat social interaction test, saredutant (20 mg/kg, i.p.) significantly increased the time spent in interaction, as did the prototypical anxiolytic agents, diazepam (1 mg/kg, i.p.) and buspirone (1 mg/kg, s.c.), but not the antidepressant, fluoxetine. In a differential reinforcement of low rate-72s task, saredutant (3 mg/kg, i.p.) displayed an antidepressant-like activity by increasing reinforced response rate and percentage of responses emitted in the inter-response time bin [49-96 s]. In bulbectomized rats, saredutant (20 mg/kg, i.p.) restored the deficit of acquisition of passive avoidance. In rat pups separated from their mother, saredutant (3-10 mg/kg, s.c.) reduced ultrasonic distress calls. Finally, in the chronic mild stress paradigm in mice, a 29-day treatment regimen with saredutant (10 mg/kg, i.p.) attenuated stress-induced physical degradation. Importantly, in the depression models, the effects of saredutant were comparable to those obtained under similar experimental conditions by reference antidepressants such as fluoxetine or imipramine. Together, these results suggest further that the NK2 receptor may represent an attractive target for the treatment of both depressive and anxiety disorders.

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