Roflumilast ameliorates ovariectomy-induced depressive-like behavior in rats via activation of AMPK/mTOR/ULK1-dependent autophagy pathway.

Citation:
Zaki, E. S., R. H. Sayed, M. A. Saad, and M. F. El-Yamany, "Roflumilast ameliorates ovariectomy-induced depressive-like behavior in rats via activation of AMPK/mTOR/ULK1-dependent autophagy pathway.", Life sciences, vol. 327, pp. 121806, 2023.

Abstract:

AIMS: Roflumilast, a well-known phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE-4) inhibitor, possess an anti-inflammatory activity with approved indications in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This study aimed to evaluate the neuroprotective role of roflumilast in ovariectomy (OVX)-induced depressive-like behavior in female rats and to shed light on a potential autophagy enhancing effect.

MAIN METHODS: Rats were randomly divided into four groups: sham, OVX, OVX + roflumilast (1 mg/kg, p.o), and OVX + roflumilast + chloroquine (CQ) (50 mg/kg, i.p). Drugs were administered for 4 weeks starting 2 weeks after OVX.

KEY FINDINGS: Roflumilast improved the depressive-like behaviors observed in OVX rats as evidenced by decreasing both forced swimming and open field immobility times while, increasing % sucrose preference and number of open field crossed squares. Histopathological analysis provides further evidence of roflumilast's beneficial effects, demonstrating that roflumilast ameliorated the neuronal damage caused by OVX. Roflumilast antidepressant potential was mediated via restoring hippocampal cAMP and BDNF levels as well as down-regulating PDE4 expression. Moreover, roflumilast revealed anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects via hindering TNF-α level and diminishing Bax/Bcl2 ratio. Roflumilast restored the autophagic function via up-regulation of p-AMPK, p-ULK1, Beclin-1 and LC3II/I expression, along with downregulation of P62 level and p-mTOR protein expression. The autophagy inhibitor CQ was used to demonstrate the suggested pathway.

SIGNIFICANCE: The present study revealed that roflumilast showed an anti-depressant activity in OVX female rats via turning on AMPK/mTOR/ULK1-dependent autophagy pathway; and neurotrophic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic activities. Roflumilast could offer a more secure alternative to hormone replacement therapy for postmenopausal depression treatment.

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