Background Anhedonia is considered a relevant feature in depression and psychosis, characterized by poor treatment outcome, and associated with deficits in mesolimbic dopaminergic responsiveness. Clinical studies suggest the potential utility of aripiprazole as adjunctive therapy for resistant depression. Since aripiprazole can stabilize the dopaminergic system, in search of tailored therapeutic strategies for reward dysfunctions, we investigated whether the drug restored motivation toward positive stimuli in a rat model. Methods Anhedonia is modeled in non food-deprived 9-week old male Sprague-Dawley rats by exposing them to a chronic unavoidable stress protocol, consisting in repeated exposure to tail-shock or restrain, which disrupts the motivation to acquire a reward-directed behavior and the competence to escape aversive stimuli. We evaluated whether long-term aripiprazole administration (1 mg/kg/day, i.p.) restored in chronically stressed rats, a) the disrupted dopaminergic response to sucrose consumption measuring DARPP-32 phosphorylation levels in the nucleus accumbens shell by immunoblotting; b) the motivation to operate in a sucrose self-administration protocol. Results Long-term aripiprazole administration restored DARPP-32 phosphorylation changes in response to sucrose and reinstated the motivational drive to acquire the reward in the progressive ratio task. However, it did not restore reactivity to aversive stimuli. Limitations The results obtained in our model may not fully translate to the clinic, as anhedonia is a complex construct in patients, where motivational aspects represent a central but not unique feature. Conclusions This study demonstrates that aripiprazole relieved motivational anhedonia in a stress-induced model and warrants further studies to ascertain whether this activity is clinically relevant for antipsychotic or adjunctive antidepressant treatments.
|Titolo:||Aripiprazole relieves motivational anhedonia in rats|
SCHEGGI, SIMONA (Corresponding)
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|