In the present study, the amino acids which have the possibility for the therapeutic efficacy of imipramine were explored and compared between Wistar Kyoto rats, an animal model of depression, and Wistar rats as a normal model. The antidepressant-like effect caused by chronic imipramine treatment was confirmed by decreased immobility in the forced swimming test. Chronic imipramine administration altered the amino acid dynamics in the brain. In the striatum, the concentrations of asparagine, glutamine and methionine were significantly increased by chronic imipramine administration. In the thalamus and hypothalamus, chronic imipramine administration significantly decreased the valine concentration. On the other hand, no amino acid was altered by chronic imipramine administration in the hippocampus, brain stem and cerebellum. In addition, lower concentration of asparagine in the prefrontal cortex of WKY rats was improved by chronic imipramine administration. This amelioration only in WKY rats may be a specific effect of chronic imipramine administration under the depressive state. In conclusion, chronic imipramine administration altered the several amino acid dynamics in the brain. Modification of the amino acid metabolism in the brain may provide a new strategy in the development of therapeutic treatment of major depression.
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