Endogenous markers of nitric oxide in the Flinders sensitive line (FSL) rat : a genetic animal model of depression
The rising number of the population that present with major depressive disorder has intensified the need to identify and elucidate new biological markers for the diagnosis and treatment of depression. Depression presents with evidence of changes in the nitric oxide (NO) pathway. In this study, levels of various endogenous markers of the NO cascade, viz. nitrite (NO2–), asymmetrical dimethylarginine (ADMA) and arginase II activity, were investigated in the Flinders Sensitive Line (FSL) rat, a genetic animal model of depression. The aim of the current study was to determine if there are differences between these markers in the plasma of the FSL rat compared to its healthy control, the (Flinders Resistant Line) FRL rat, with the possibility of considering their use as biomarkers of depression. Nitrite was chosen as metabolite over nitrate (NO3–) because the dietary intake of nitrite and/or nitrate does not significantly affect nitrite (NO2–) levels in plasma. Although this is of no significance if applied to rats, it is an important factor to be considered when doing clinical studies. For neurochemical determination of nitrite a sensitive fluorometric reversed phase high–performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) assay was developed to analyze nitrite in human and rat plasma. Derivatization of sample nitrite was performed with 2,3–diaminonaphthalene (DAN) followed by the quantification of the stable and highly fluorescent product, 2,3–naphthotriazole (NAT). Determination of arginase II activity was performed by measuring L–arginine and L–ornithine concentrations in the plasma, while ADMA was measured simultaneously with L–arginine and L–ornithine using liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry, or LC/MS/MS. Plasma nitrite levels of FSL rats were significantly decreased compared to plasma nitrite levels in the FRL rat, but neither the levels of ADMA nor arginase II activity showed a significant difference between the FSL and FRL rat groups. From these results it is concluded that in accordance with previous studies, the NO pathway plays an important role in the pathophysiology of depression, as depicted in the differences found between plasma nitrite levels in the FSL rat compared to its healthy control.
- ETD@PUK