Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 229
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825472

Antidepressant-like effect of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide in the forced swim test in rats

A Rex 1, R Schickert 1, H Fink 1
  • 1Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universitìt Berlin, Berlin

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH), a co-substrate for energy transfer in the oxidative phosphorylation, has supposedly beneficial effects on CNS related diseases, e.g. shown in an open study with depressive patients (1). To our knowledge there are no data concerning the efficacy of NADH in animal tests. Acute effects of NADH and the precursor nicotinamide, compared to controls and the antidepressants desipramine and fluoxetine were examined in the forced swim test (FST) in Wistar rats. NADH, but not nicotinamide, reduced immobility and increased swimming behaviour in the FST, with a minimum effective dose of 5mg/kg. NADH-induced behavioural profile was similar to fluoxetine, but different to desipramine. NADH did not increase motor activity in the open field, indicating that the effects in the FST are not related to stimulatory action. These data support an antidepressant potential of NADH.

1. Birkmayer, J., Birkmayer, W. New Trends Clin Neuropharmacol 5 (1991) 19–25.