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Horm Behav. 2015 Apr;70:64-72. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2014.12.012. Epub 2015 Mar 6.

The neurosteroid dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, but not androsterone, enhances the antidepressant effect of cocaine examined in the forced swim test--Possible role of serotonergic neurotransmission.

Author information

1
Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, Medical University of Warsaw, 1b Banacha Street, 02-097 Warsaw, Poland.
2
Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, Medical University of Warsaw, 1b Banacha Street, 02-097 Warsaw, Poland; Marie Curie Program (EC), Department of Pharmacology and Physiology of the Nervous System, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Sobieskiego 9, 02-957 Warsaw, Poland. Electronic address: malgorzata.e.zajda@gmail.com.
3
Marie Curie Program (EC), Department of Pharmacology and Physiology of the Nervous System, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Sobieskiego 9, 02-957 Warsaw, Poland.

Abstract

One of the mechanisms of cocaine's actions in the central nervous system is its antidepressant action. This effect might be responsible for increased usage of the drug by individuals with mood disorders. Higher endogenous levels of the excitatory neurosteroid dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) were reported to correlate with successful abstinence from cocaine use in addicts, but a clinical trial showed that supplementation with a high dose of DHEA increased cocaine usage instead. Such ambiguous effects of DHEA(S) could potentially be linked to its influence on the antidepressant effect of cocaine. In this study we tested DHEAS and its metabolite, androsterone, for interactions with cocaine in animal model of depression (forced swim test) and examined the effects of both steroids and cocaine on serotoninergic neurotransmission. All substances were also tested for influence on locomotor activity. A cocaine dose of 5mg/kg, which had no significant effect on locomotor activity, was chosen for the forced swim test. Neither DHEAS nor androsterone showed any antidepressant action in this test, while cocaine manifested a clear antidepressant effect. Androsterone slightly reduced the antidepressant influence of cocaine while DHEAS markedly, dose-dependently enhanced it. Such an effect might be caused by the influence of DHEAS on serotonin neurotransmission, as this steroid decreased serotonin concentration and turnover in the striatum. When DHEAS and cocaine were administered together, the levels of serotonin in the striatum and hippocampus remained unchanged. This phenomenon may explain the additive antidepressant action of DHEAS and cocaine and why co-administration of DHEAS and cocaine increases drug use.

KEYWORDS:

Androsterone; Cocaine; Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate; Depression; Neurosteroids; Serotonin

PMID:
25747464
DOI:
10.1016/j.yhbeh.2014.12.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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