Caruso G, Grasso M, Fidilio A, Torrisi SA, Musso N, Geraci F, Tropea MR, Privitera A, Tascedda F, Puzzo D, Salomone S, Drago F, Leggio GM, Caraci F. (2021) Front. Pharmacol. 12:809541.

Pubmed: doi: 10.3389/fphar.2021.809541.


Depression is a risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A neurobiological and clinical continuum exists between AD and depression, with neuroinflammation and oxidative stress being involved in both diseases. Second-generation antidepressants, in particular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are currently investigated as neuroprotective drugs in AD. By employing a non-transgenic AD model, obtained by intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injection of amyloid-β (Aβ) oligomers in 2-month-old C57BL/6 mice, we recently demonstrated that the SSRI fluoxetine (FLX) and the multimodal antidepressant vortioxetine (VTX) reversed the depressive-like phenotype and memory deficits induced by Aβ oligomers rescuing the levels of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1). Aim of our study was to test FLX and VTX for their ability to prevent oxidative stress in the hippocampus of Aβ-injected mice, a brain area strongly affected in both depression and AD. The long-term intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of FLX (10 mg/kg) or VTX (5 and 10 mg/kg) for 24 days, starting 7 days before Aβ injection, was able to prevent the over-expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and NADPH oxidase 2 (Nox2) induced by Aβ oligomers. Antidepressant pre-treatment was also able to rescue the mRNA expression of glutathione peroxidase 1 (Gpx1) antioxidant enzyme. FLX and VTX also prevented Aβ-induced neurodegeneration in mixed neuronal cultures treated with Aβ oligomers. Our data represent the first evidence that the long-term treatment with the antidepressants FLX or VTX can prevent the oxidative stress phenomena related to the cognitive deficits and depressive-like phenotype observed in a non-transgenic animal model of AD.