Rationale: Depression is highly prevalent in diabetes (DM). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is mainly regulated by the endoplasmic reticulum chaperon sigma-1 receptor (S1R) plays a relevant role in the development of depression. Objectives: We studied the dose-dependent efficacy of S1R agonist fluvoxamine (FLU) in the prevention of DM-induced depression and investigated the significance of the S1R-BDNF pathway. Methods: We used streptozotocin to induce DM in adult male rats that were treated for 2 weeks p.o. with either different doses of FLU (2 or 20 mg/bwkg) or FLU + S1R antagonist NE100 (1 mg/bwkg) or vehicle. Healthy controls were also enrolled. Metabolic, behaviour, and neuroendocrine changes were determined, and S1R and BDNF levels were measured in the different brain regions. Results: In DM rats, immobility time was increased, adrenal glands were enlarged, and thymuses were involuted. FLU in 20 mg/bwkg, but not in 2 mg/bwkg dosage, ameliorated depression-like behaviour. S1R and BDNF protein levels were decreased in DM, while FLU induced SIR-BDNF production. NE100 suspended all effects of FLU. Conclusions: We suggest that disturbed S1R-BDNF signaling in the brain plays a relevant role in DM-induced depression. The activation of this cascade serves as an additional target in the prevention of DM-associated depression.
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