, Volume 190, Issue 1, pp 103–115 | Cite as

Chronic fluoxetine increases cytosolic phospholipase A2 activity and arachidonic acid turnover in brain phospholipids of the unanesthetized rat

  • Ho-Joo Lee
  • Jagadeesh S. Rao
  • Renee N. Ertley
  • Lisa Chang
  • Stanley I. Rapoport
  • Richard P. Bazinet
Original Investigation



Fluoxetine is used to treat unipolar depression and is thought to act by increasing the concentration of serotonin (5-HT) in the synaptic cleft, leading to increased serotonin signaling. The 5-HT2A/2C receptor subtypes are coupled to a phospholipase A2 (PLA2). We hypothesized that chronic fluoxetine would increase the brain activity of PLA2 and the turnover rate of arachidonic acid (AA) in phospholipids of the unanesthetized rat.

Materials and methods

To test this hypothesis, rats were administered fluoxetine (10 mg/kg) or vehicle intraperitoneally daily for 21 days. In the unanesthetized rat, [1-14C]AA was infused intravenously and arterial blood plasma was sampled until the animal was killed at 5 min and its brain was subjected to chemical, radiotracer, or enzyme analysis.


Using equations from our fatty acid model, we found that chronic fluoxetine compared with vehicle increased the turnover rate of AA within several brain phospholipids by 75–86%. The activity and protein levels of brain cytosolic PLA2 (cPLA2) but not of secretory or calcium-independent PLA2 were increased in rats administered fluoxetine. In a separate group of animals that received chronic fluoxetine followed by a 3-day saline washout, the turnover of AA and activity and protein levels of cPLA2 were not significantly different from controls. The protein levels of cyclooxygenases 1 and 2 as well as the concentration of prostaglandin E2 in rats chronically administered fluoxetine did not differ significantly from controls.


The results support the hypothesis that fluoxetine increases the cPLA2-mediated turnover of AA within brain phospholipids.


Fluoxetine Brain Arachidonic acid Phospholipase A2 Cyclooxygenase Prostaglandin 



This work was entirely supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ho-Joo Lee
    • 1
  • Jagadeesh S. Rao
    • 1
  • Renee N. Ertley
    • 1
  • Lisa Chang
    • 1
  • Stanley I. Rapoport
    • 1
  • Richard P. Bazinet
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Brain Physiology and Metabolism Section National Institute on AgingNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Nutritional Sciences, University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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