Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Psychiatry. 2019 Oct 16. doi: 10.1038/s41380-019-0548-4. [Epub ahead of print]

Antidepressant efficacy of a selective organic cation transporter blocker in a mouse model of depression.

Author information

Sorbonne Université, INSERM, CNRS, Neuroscience Paris Seine, 75005, Paris, France.
Université Paris Descartes, CNRS, 75006, Paris, France.
Université Paul Sabatier, CNRS, Research Center on Animal Cognition, 31062, Toulouse, France.
Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacy Technology and Parasitology, University of Valencia, Valencia, 46010, Spain.
Department of Psychiatry, Douglas Mental Health Research Center, McGill University, Montreal, QC, H3A 1A, Canada.
Université Paris Descartes, CNRS, 75006, Paris, France.
Sorbonne Université, École normale supérieure, PSL University, CNRS, Laboratoire des Biomolécules, 75005, Paris, France.
Sorbonne Université, INSERM, CNRS, Neuroscience Paris Seine, 75005, Paris, France.


Current antidepressants act principally by blocking monoamine reuptake by high-affinity transporters in the brain. However, these antidepressants show important shortcomings such as slow action onset and limited efficacy in nearly a third of patients with major depression disorder. Here, we report the development of a prodrug targeting organic cation transporters (OCT), atypical monoamine transporters recently implicated in the regulation of mood. Using molecular modeling, we designed a selective OCT2 blocker, which was modified to increase brain penetration. This compound, H2-cyanome, was tested in a rodent model of chronic depression induced by 7-week corticosterone exposure. In male mice, prolonged administration of H2-cyanome induced positive effects on several behaviors mimicking symptoms of depression, including anhedonia, anxiety, social withdrawal, and memory impairment. Importantly, in this validated model, H2-cyanome compared favorably with the classical antidepressant fluoxetine, with a faster action on anhedonia and better anxiolytic effects. Integrated Z-scoring across these depression-like variables revealed a lower depression score for mice treated with H2-cyanome than for mice treated with fluoxetine for 3 weeks. Repeated H2-cyanome administration increased ventral tegmental area dopaminergic neuron firing, which may underlie its rapid action on anhedonia. H2-cyanome, like fluoxetine, also modulated several intracellular signaling pathways previously involved in antidepressant response. Our findings provide proof-of-concept of antidepressant efficacy of an OCT blocker, and a mechanistic framework for the development of new classes of antidepressants and therapeutic alternatives for resistant depression and other psychiatric disturbances such as anxiety.


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center