Evidence for the involvement of opioid system in the antidepressant-like effect of ascorbic acid.
Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2018 02 ;391(2):169-176. Epub 2017 Dec 8. PMID: 29222646
Considering the involvement of the opioid system in major depressive disorder (MDD), mainly concerning refractory MDD, and the evidence that ascorbic acid may exert a beneficial effect for the treatment of this disorder, this study investigated the involvement of the opioid system in the antidepressant-like effect of ascorbic acid in the tail suspension test (TST). Treatment of Swiss mice with the non-selective opioid receptor antagonist naloxone (1 mg/kg, i.p.) prevented the reduced immobility time caused by ascorbic acid (1 mg/kg, p.o.) in the TST. Additionally, administration of the selective μ1-opioid receptor antagonist, naloxonazine (10 mg/kg, i.p.), also abolished the antidepressant-like action of the same dose of ascorbic acid in the TST. We also investigated the possible relationship between the opioid system and NMDA receptors in the mechanism of action of ascorbic acid or ketamine (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.) in the TST. Treatment of mice with naloxone (1 mg/kg, i.p.) blocked the synergistic antidepressant-like effect of ascorbic acid (0.1 mg/kg. p.o.) and MK-801 (0.001 mg/kg, p.o., a non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist) in the TST. Combined administration of ketamine and MK-801 induced a synergistic antidepressant-like action, and naloxone partially abolished this effect. Our results indicate that the antidepressant-like effect of ascorbic acid in the TST appears to be dependent on the activation of the opioid system, especially μ1-opioid receptors, which might be an indirect consequence of NMDA receptor inhibition elicited by ascorbic acid administration.