Rationale: Substance P antagonists have been proposed as candidates for a new class of antidepressant compounds. Objectives: We examined the effects of SLV-323, a novel neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R) antagonist, in the chronic psychosocial stress paradigm of adult male tree shrews. Methods: Animals were subjected to a 7 day period of psychosocial stress before being treated daily with SLV-323 (20 mg kg-1 day-1). The psychosocial stress continued throughout the treatment period of 28 days. Brain metabolite concentrations were determined in vivo by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Norepinephrine excretion was monitored from daily urine samples, and serum testosterone concentrations were measured at the end of the experiment. All animals were videotaped daily to analyze scent-marking behavior and locomotor activity. Cell proliferation in the dentate gyrus and hippocampal volume were measured postmortem. Results: Stress significantly decreased cerebral concentrations of N-acetyl-aspartate, total creatine, and choline-containing compounds in vivo and resulted in an increase of urinary norepinephrine and decrease of serum testosterone concentrations. Moreover, stressed animals displayed decreased scent-marking behavior and locomotor activity. The proliferation rate of the granule precursor cells in the dentate gyrus was reduced, and hippocampal volume was mildly decreased. The stress-induced alterations in the central nervous system were partially prevented by concomitant administration of SLV-323, while drug treatment had only a minor effect on the stress-induced behavioral changes. Conclusions: The novel NK1R antagonist SLV-323 has certain antidepressant-like effects in a valid animal model of depression.
- Mood disorder
- Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy
- Substance P
- Tree shrew
ASJC Scopus subject areas