An inhibitor of cAMP-dependent protein kinase induces behavioural and neurological antidepressant-like effects in rats
Brink, Christiaan Beyers
Harvey, Brian Herbert
Müller, Heidi Kaastrup
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Although it is well established that cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) signalling via cAMPdependent protein kinase (PKA)within neurons plays an important role in depression and antidepressant treatment, the importance of several newly discovered targets that function independently from PKA, such as exchange protein activated by cAMP (Epac), remains unexplored in this regard. In this study we used a cAMP analogue that inhibits PKA but not Epac (Rp-8-Br-cAMP), to explore the modifying actions of these two targets on immobility in the forced swim test (FST) and cerebellar cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) phosphorylation in rats. In addition, we assessed central cAMP and cGMP levels and investigated the involvement of cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) on any observed effects by using a selective PKG inhibitor (Rp-8-Br-PET-cGMPS).Interestingly, Rp-8-Br-cAMPS strongly reduced immobility in the FST and induced an increase in the phosphorylation of CREB in the cerebellum, effects that were unaltered by the co-administration of Rp-8-Br-PET-cGMPS. Furthermore, Rp-8-Br-cAMPS increased the accumulation of cAMP and cGMP in the hippocampus, frontal cortex and cerebellum of these rats. Together, these results suggest that in addition to activating PKA, elevated cAMP may also stimulate other targets that mediate antidepressant activity. According to the pharmacodynamic profile of Rp-8-Br-cAMPS and taking into consideration what has recently been discovered regarding the cAMP signalling system, a likely candidate is the guanine nucleotide exchange factor, Epac.