Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 119
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825370

Antidepressants differentially influence the transcriptional activity of the glucocorticoid receptor in vitro

AS Herr 1, A Tsolakidou 1, A Yassouridis 1, F Holsboer 1, T Rein 1
  • 1Max-Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich

Functional normalisation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in depressive patients by antidepressants successful treatment is associated with increased efficiency of corticosteroid signal transduction. Some antidepressants have been shown to influence the activity of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) in cultured cells. Whether this principle is common for all the antidepressant classes is not clear. Therefore, we screened 18 antidepressants of different classes for their effect on GR signalling in a reporter gene assay using the mouse hippocampal cell line HT22. After short-time incubation with different concentrations of each antidepressant in the presence or absence of dexamethasone the majority of antidepressants had a tendency to enhance steroid induced GR-mediated gene transcription at high concentrations of antidepressant and low concentration of the steroid. Some antidepressants reduced the steroid-independent background activity of GR, not due to unspecific inhibition of GR by oxidative stress, but apparently by using different mechanisms.