Potential Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Escitalopram in Iodoacetamide-Induced Colitis in Depressed Ovariectomized Rats: Role of α7-nAChR

  • Salah A. AbdoEmail author
  • Walaa Wadie
  • Rania M. Abdelsalam
  • Mahmoud M. Khattab
Original Article


Escitalopram, a drug of choice in the treatment of depression, was recently shown to possess an anti-inflammatory activity. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the effect of escitalopram on peripheral inflammatory cascades in iodoacetamide-induced colitis associated with depressive behavior in ovariectomized rats. Moreover, the role of α-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in mediating the anti-colitic effect of escitalopram was examined using a nicotinic receptor antagonist methyllycaconitine citrate. Colitis was induced by intracolonic injection of 4% iodoacetamide in ovariectomized rats. Escitalopram (10 mg/kg/day, i.p.) was then injected for 1 week and several parameters including macroscopic (colon mass index and ulcerative area), microscopic (histopathology and scoring), and biochemical (myeloperoxidase and tumor necrosis factor-α) were determined. Colitis induction in ovariectomized rats resulted in a marked increase in colon mass index, ulcerative area, histopathological scoring, myeloperoxidase activity and tumor necrosis factor-α levels. These effects were ameliorated by escitalopram, even in the presence of methyllycaconitine indicating that α-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor does not mediate the anti-inflammatory effect of escitalopram. The present study revealed the beneficial effect of escitalopram in iodoacetamide induced colitis in ovariectomized rats and suggests that it may represent a new therapeutic agent for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, especially in patients with or at high risk of depressive behavior.


Escitalopram colitis depression α7-nAChR iodoacetamide ovariectomy methyllycaconitine 



The authors are grateful to Prof. Laila A. Rashed (Medical Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt), for her valuable assistance in ELIZA and Western blotting procedures. The authors are also thankful to Prof. Nermeen Shaffie (Department of Pathology, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt) for her precious efforts in histological examinations.

Author Contributions

All authors contribute equally.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of PharmacyCairo UniversityCairoEgypt

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