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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2012 Dec;103(2):395-402. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2012.09.018. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Tianeptine exerts neuroprotective effects in the brain tissue of rats exposed to the chronic stress model.

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Laboratório de Neurociências, Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia Translacional em Medicina (INCT-TM), and Núcleo de Excelência em Neurociências Aplicadas de Santa Catarina (NENASC), Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências da Saúde, Unidade Acadêmica de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade do Extremo Sul Catarinense, 88806-000 Criciúma, SC, Brazil.


Animal models of chronic stress represent valuable tools by which to investigate the behavioral, endocrine and neurobiological changes underlying stress-related psychopathologies, such as major depression, and the efficacy of antidepressant therapies. The present study was aimed at investigating the neurochemical effects of the antidepressant tianeptine in rats exposed to the chronic stress model. To this aim, rats were subjected to 40days of chronic unpredictable stressful stimuli, after which the animals received saline or tianeptine (15mg/kg) once a day for 7days. Additionally, IL-6, IL-1, TNF-α levels and oxidative stress parameters were assessed in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), hippocampus (HPC), amygdala (AMY) and nucleus accumbens (NAc) in all of the experimental groups studied. The results indicated that chronic mild stress and tianeptine did not exercise any effects on cytokines in all of the structures studied; in the PFC and AMY thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) levels were decreased in control rats treated with tianeptine in the HPC; superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity was found to have decreased in stressed rats treated with saline in the PFC, HPC, AMY and NAc, and tianeptine reversed this effect; catalase (CAT) activity was found to have decreased in the PFC, HPC and NAc of stressed rats treated with saline, but was shown to have increased in stressed rats treated with tianeptine, and tianeptine also reversed the decreases in CAT activity in stressed rats treated with saline, suggesting that tianeptine exerted antioxidant activity. In conclusion, the present findings open new vistas on the pharmacological activity of tianeptine, in particular, concerning its ability to attenuate oxidative stress.

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