Differential adaptation of REM sleep latency, intermediate stage and theta power effects of escitalopram after chronic treatment

Szilvia Vas, Zita Kátai, Diána Kostyalik, Dorottya Pap, Eszter Molnár, Péter Petschner, Lajos Kalmár, György Bagdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of the widely used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants on sleep have been intensively investigated. However, only a few animal studies examined the effect of escitalopram, the more potent S-enantiomer of citalopram, and conclusions of these studies on sleep architecture are limited due to the experimental design. Here, we investigate the acute (2 and 10 mg/kg, i.p. injected at the beginning of the passive phase) or chronic (10 mg/kg/day for 21 days, by osmotic minipumps) effects of escitalopram on the sleep and quantitative electroencephalogram (EEG) of Wistar rats. The first 3 h of EEG recording was analyzed at the beginning of passive phase, immediately after injections. The acutely injected 2 and 10 mg/kg and the chronically administered 10 mg/kg/day escitalopram caused an approximately three, six and twofold increases in rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) latency, respectively. Acute 2-mg/kg escitalopram reduced REMS, but increased intermediate stage of sleep (IS) while the 10 mg/kg reduced both. We also observed some increase in light slow wave sleep and passive wake parallel with a decrease in deep slow wave sleep and theta power in both active wake and REMS after acute dosing. Following chronic treatment, only the increase in REMS latency remained significant compared to control animals. In conclusion, adaptive changes in the effects of escitalopram, which occur after 3 weeks of treatment, suggest desensitization in the function of 5-HT1A and 5-HT1B receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-176
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neural transmission
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2013


  • 5-HT receptor
  • Chronic treatment
  • Escitalopram
  • Intermediate stage of sleep
  • Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep
  • SSRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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