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Life Sci. 1984 Nov 19;35(21):2149-54.

Chronic antidepressants and GABA "B" receptors: a GABA hypothesis of antidepressant drug action.


Amitryptyline (10 mg/kg), desipramine (5 mg/kg), citalopram (10 mg/kg) and viloxazine (10 mg/kg) were administered to rats either acutely (decapitation 1 hr after i.p. injection) or subacutely (by subcutaneous minipump implantation for 18 days followed by decapitation 24 hr after removal). After acute administration there was not any consistent alteration in GABA levels, GAD activity, 3H GABA "A" or 3H-GABA "B" receptor binding or 3H-nipecotic acid binding to the recognition site for GABA uptake in the frontal cortex or hippocampus. Upon subacute antidepressant drug infusion, GABA levels, GAD activity and 3H-GABA-"A" binding showed only scattered differences in drug treated animals as compared to saline treated rats. However, 3H-GABA "B" binding in the frontal cortex was consistently elevated after all drug treatments (in % of control: amitryptyline = 155%; desipramine = 151%; citalopram = 173%; viloxazine = 189%). Scatchard analysis showed that this was due to a Bmax increase without an effect in Kd. These findings were reproduced by subacute administration of pargyline, a MAO inhibitor. These data suggest that GABA "B" receptors may be involved in the mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs and provide a link between GABAergic and monoaminergic hypotheses of depression.

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