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Hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and impairment of the central corticotropin-releasing factor system are factors in the pathogenesis of depression. Though several antagonists of the corticotropin-releasing factor 1 receptor were effective in the recognized behavioral tests for antidepressant activity, there is still little information on the potential interactions between corticotropin-releasing factor 1 receptor inhibitors and conventional antidepressant therapy. The aim of our study was to assess the influence of CP154526, a corticotropin-releasing factor 1 receptor blocker, which presented some signs of depression. Our results revealed that CP154526 (5 and 10 mg/kg) or fluoxetine (10 mg/kg) treatment notably improved the sucrose consumption, produced anti-depressive-like behavior in open-field test, as well as immobility time in forced swimming test. The levels of interleukin-6, interleukin-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α, and corticotropin-releasing hormone concentration in the serum were inhibited effectively by CP154526 or fluoxetine administration. Real-time quantitative PCR and western blot analysis showed the upregulated levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and growth associated protein 43 (GAP43) in the hypothalamus of the rats exposed to chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS), while different degrees of downregulation in their expression were detected after CP154526 (5 and 10 mg/kg) or fluoxetine (10 mg/kg) treatment, respectively. Thus, our data demonstrated that CP154526 exhibited antidepressant effect in CUMS rats, which might be mediated by decreasing the brain-derived neurotrophic factor and GAP43 expression in the hypothalamus.


Xu-Bo Wang, Yong-Qiang Zhang, Ran-Ran Xue, Zhen-Zhen Yang, Xian-Feng Zhang. Corticotropin-releasing hormone 1 receptor antagonism attenuates chronic unpredictable mild stress-induced depressive-like behaviors in rats. Neuroreport. 2020 Jan 08;31(1):1-8

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PMID: 31688420

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