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    Affective biases seemingly play a crucial role for the onset and development of depression. Acute treatment with monoamine-based antidepressants positively influences emotional processing, and an early correction of biases likely results in repeated positive experiences that ultimately lead to improved mood. Using two conventional antidepressants, sertraline and duloxetine, we aimed to forward the characterization of a newly developed affective bias test (ABT) for rats. Further, we examined the effect of vortioxetine, a recently approved antidepressant, and the α2 adrenoceptor antagonist idazoxan on affective biases. Sprague Dawley rats were tested in an affective bias test using a fully balanced within-subject study design. Rats learned to associate two different digging substrates with a reward during six reward-pairing days. The absolute value of the rewards was identical, but the affective state at the time of learning induces a positive or negative bias towards the treatment-paired digging substrate at recall. The choice bias between the two digging substrates at recall represents the affective bias. Sertraline (1, 3 and 10 mg/kg), duloxetine (1, 3 and 10 mg/kg), vortioxetine (1, 3 and 10 mg/kg) and idazoxan (3 and 10 mg/kg) were tested in the ABT. All four drugs, regardless of their mechanism of action, induced a positive affective bias in the ABT, although the overall effect of treatment was not statistically significant for sertraline and duloxetine. The largest effects were induced by vortioxetine and idazoxan, both of which caused significant positive biases at all tested doses.


    Louise K Refsgaard, Kia Haubro, Darryl S Pickering, Sarah A Stuart, Emma S J Robinson, Jesper T Andreasen. Effects of sertraline, duloxetine, vortioxetine, and idazoxan in the rat affective bias test. Psychopharmacology. 2016 Oct;233(21-22):3763-3770

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    PMID: 27572627

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