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Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2009 Jul;12(6):731-6. doi: 10.1017/S1461145709000418. Epub 2009 May 7.

Reduced effectiveness of escitalopram in the forced swimming test is associated with increased serotonin clearance rate in food-restricted rats.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA.


Efficacy of antidepressant drugs is often limited. One of the limiting factors may be diet. This study shows that the effect of escitalopram in the forced swimming test is diminished in rats by food restriction that decreased body weight by 8%. The primary target for escitalopram is the serotonin (5-HT) transporter. Using high-speed chronoamperometry to measure 5-HT clearance in vivo in rats fed the same food-restricted diet, the rate of 5-HT clearance from extracellular fluid in brain was dramatically increased. Increased 5-HT transporter function under conditions of dietary restriction might contribute to the decreased effect of escitalopram. These results suggest that diet plays an integral role in determining efficacy of antidepressant drugs, and might well generalize to other psychoactive drugs that impinge upon the 5-HT transporter.

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