, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 457-468
Date: 03 Jan 2008

BDNF Level in the Rat Prefrontal Cortex Increases Following Chronic but Not Acute Treatment with Duloxetine, a Dual Acting Inhibitor of Noradrenaline and Serotonin Re-uptake

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Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) has a central role in neuronal survival, differentiation, and plasticity. The brain level of BDNF is changed by several mood stabilizers and antidepressant drugs acting on neurotransmitters such as noradrenaline and serotonin. We investigated the effects of acute and chronic treatment with Duloxetine, a new drug blocking the re-uptake of serotonin and noradrenaline (SNRI), on BDNF level in the prefrontal cortex, cerebrospinal fluid, plasma, and serum.


Wistar male rats were treated with acute (single treatment) and chronic oral administration (14 days) of different concentrations of Duloxetine (10, 30, and 100 mg/kg/day). At the end of the treatment periods, samples of blood, CSF and the prefrontal cortex were collected. BDNF levels were measured by ELISA. Levels of mature and precursor form of BDNF were measured by Western blot analysis.


Animals treated with the Duloxetine at all concentrations and examined after 1 and 24 h (single treatment) did not reveal a significant change in the total BDNF level. In animals treated for 14 days with Duloxetine at 30 and 100 mg/kg, the total BDNF level increased significantly in the prefrontal cortex and CSF, but not in the plasma and serum. Using a specific antibody and Western blot we showed that the mature, but not the precursor, form of BDNF was significantly increased in the prefrontal cortex of rats treated for 14 days with Duloxetine at 30 mg/kg/day.


Our results show a major finding that repeated, but not single, Duloxetine treatment increases the level of BDNF in the prefrontal cortex.

Claudio Mannari and Nicola Origlia are contributed equally to this work.