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Front Psychiatry. 2018 Nov 6;9:558. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00558. eCollection 2018.

Minocycline Attenuates Stress-Induced Behavioral Changes via Its Anti-inflammatory Effects in an Animal Model of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

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Department of Medical Psychology and Ethics, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Shandong University, Jinan, China.
Department of Psychological Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.


Accumulating evidences have suggested that anxiety-like behavior and impairment of learning and memory are key symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and pharmacological treatment can ameliorate anxiety and cognitive impairments. Recent studies have shown that minocycline exhibits anxiolytic effects. The aims of the present study were to determine whether minocycline administration would alter anxiety-like behavior and cognitive deficits induced by inescapable foot shock (IFS) and to explore the underlying mechanisms. Male Wistar rats were exposed to the IFS protocol for a period of 6 days to induce PTSD. The PTSD-like behavior was tested using the open field test, elevated plus maze test, and Morris water maze test. The effects of minocycline on pro-inflammatory cytokines, activation of microglia, and NF-κB in the PFC and hippocampus were also examined. Treatment with minocycline significantly reversed the IFS induced behavioral and cognitive parameters (impaired learning and memory function) in stressed rats. Additionally, IFS was able to increase pro-inflammatory cytokines, activate microglia, and enhance NF-κB levels, while minocycline significantly reversed these alterations. Taken together, our results suggest that the anxiolytic effect of minocycline is related to its ability to decrease the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and inhibit activation of microglia and NF-κB in the PFC and hippocampus.


NF-κB; inescapable foot shock; microglia; minocycline; post-traumatic stress disorder; pro-inflammatory cytokines

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