It has been shown that different receptor components may be involved in the adaptive changes occurring in noradrenergic (NE) neurones after prolonged periods of exposure to antidepressant drugs. In this report the desensitization of NE-coupled adenylate cyclase (NE-AC), β-adrenergic receptors and [3H]imipramine ([3H]-IMI or [3H]desipramine ([3H]DMI) binding sites have been temporally correlated with in vivo changes of NE utilization. Normetanephrine (NMN) was measured as indicator of NE synaptic events involved in antidepressant action. Concentrations of normetanephrine were increased after acute desipramine (DMI), viloxazine and mianserin administration. Following 3 days of treatment, the antidepressant-induced increase of normetanephrine became tolerant and NE neurones were resistant to the antidepressant effect until the 15th day of treatment. After two weeks, DMI elicited a significant decrease in the content of normetanephrine. A different pattern of changes has been found in the temporal modification of [3H]IMI recognition sites, β-adrenoceptors and NE-AC activity after chronic DMI treatment. Binding sites and receptors were down regulated after 10 days of treatment preceding the decrease in normetanephrine content. No down-regulation was observed in [3H]-DMI binding sites. Studies on the effects of antidepressants during brain maturation revealed that the mechanisms which cause desensitization of β-receptors and [3H]-IMI binding sites appear in the early stages of postnatal life. Since [3H]-IMI and [3H]-DMI recognition sites have been shown to be located on serotonergic (5-HT) and noradrenergic neurones respectively, the interactions between NE and 5-HT neurones could represent possible mechanisms implicated in receptor desensitization. The experiments presented involving lesions of 5-HT neurones have clearly demonstrated that NE release in rat cerebral cortex is under a tonic serotonergic influence. Alterations in the chemico-physical properties of the synaptic membranes might be also taken in consideration for the mechanisms underlying receptor modulation. In fact, evidence is provided that in neural tissue phospholipid methylation can be affected. In conclusion, the temporal sequence of changes in cortical noradrenergic neurones, after chronic antidepressant treatment, has demonstrated that integrated mechanisms are operative for the function of the overall system. © 1983.
Temporal sequence of changes in central noradrenergic system of rat after prolonged antidepressant treatment: Receptor desensitization and neurotransmitter interactions / Racagni, G.; Mocchetti, I.; Calderini, G.; Battistella, A.; Brunello, N.. - In: NEUROPHARMACOLOGY. - ISSN 0028-3908. - 22:3(1983), pp. 415-424. [10.1016/0028-3908(83)90191-0]