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Physiol Res. 2010;59(2):263-71. Epub 2009 Jun 19.

Quetiapine ameliorates anxiety-like behavior and cognitive impairments in stressed rats: implications for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China.


The purpose of this study was to determine preventive and protective effects of chronic orally administration with quetiapine (QUE) against anxiety-like behavior and cognitive impairments in rats exposed to the enhanced single prolonged stress (ESPS), an animal model that is used to study post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and to detect changes in the expression of cortical phosphorylated p44/42 extracellular-regulated protein kinase (pERK1/2). Before or after exposure to ESPS paradigm, consisting of 2-h constraint, 20-min forced swimming, ether-induced loss of consciousness, and an electric foot shock, rats were given orally QUE (10 mg/kg daily) for 14 days. Animals were then tested in the open field (OF), elevated plus-maze (EPM), and Morris water maze (MWM). Brains were removed for immunohistochemical staining of pERK1/2. ESPS exposure resulted in pronounced anxiety-like behavior compared to unexposed animals. ESPS-exposed animals also displayed marked learning and spatial memory impairments. However, QUE treatment (both before and after ESPS exposure) significantly ameliorated anxiety-like behavior, learning and spatial memory impairments. ESPS also markedly reduced the expression of pERK1/2 in the prefrontal cortex, medial amygdala nucleus, and cingulate gyrus. Both before and after ESPS exposure QUE treatments significantly elevated the reduced pERK1/2 expression in the three brain regions. QUE has preventive and protective effects against stress-associated symptoms and the changes in pERK1/2 functions may be associated with the pathophysiology of traumatic stress and the therapeutic efficacy of anti-PTSD therapy.

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