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Escitalopram as a modulator of proopiomelanocortin, kisspeptin, Kiss1R and MCHR1 gene expressions in the male rat brain

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  • A. Pałasz
  • A. Piwowarczyk-Nowak
  • A. Suszka-Świtek
  • K. Bogus
  • Ł. Filipczyk
  • A.D. Vecchia
  • K. Mordecka-Chamera
  • I.C. Menezes
  • J.J. Worthington
  • M. Krzystanek
  • R. Wiaderkiewicz
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/10/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Molecular Biology Reports
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)8273–8278
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date10/09/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Neuropeptides are important, multifunctional regulatory factors of the nervous system, being considered as a novel, atypical sites of antidepressants action. It has already been proven that some of them, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), are able to affect peptidergic pathways in various brain regions. Despite these reports, there is so far no reports regarding the effect of treatment with SSRIs on brain proopiomelanocortin (POMC), kisspeptin, Kiss1R and MCHR1 gene expression. In the current study we examined POMC, kisspeptin, Kiss1R and MCHR1 mRNA expression in the selected brain structures (hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala, striatum, cerebellum and brainstem) of rats chronically treated with a 10 mg/kg dose of escitalopram using quantitative Real-Time PCR. Long-term treatment with escitalopram led to the upregulation of MCHR1 expression in the rat amygdala. Kisspeptin mRNA level was also increased in the amygdala, but Kiss1R mRNA expressions were elevated in the hippocampus, hypothalamus and cerebellum. POMC mRNA expressions were in turn decreased in the hippocampus, amygdala, cerebellum and brainstem. These results may support the hypothesis that these neuropeptides may be involved in the site-dependent actions of SSRI antidepressants. This is the first report of the effects of escitalopram on POMC, kisspeptin, Kiss1R and MCHR1 in animal brain. Our findings shed a new light on the pharmacology of SSRIs and may contribute to a better understanding of the alternative, neuropeptide-dependent modes of antidepressant action.