Laboratory of Synthesis, Reactivity, Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Organochalcogen Compounds, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Center of Natural and Exact Sciences, Federal University of Santa Maria, Santa Maria, RS 97105-900, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]
The opioid withdrawal syndrome is defined as a complex phenomenon involving multiple cellular adaptations, which leads to the emergence of aversive physical and affective signs. The m-trifluoromethyl-diphenyl diselenide (m-CF3-PhSe)2 elicits an antidepressant-like effect by modulating the opioid system in different animal models of mood disorders. Notably, repeated exposure to (m-CF3-PhSe)2 developed neither tolerance nor withdrawal signs in mice. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether (m-CF3-PhSe)2 attenuates the physical signs and the depressive-like phenotype during morphine withdrawal through its neuroprotective effects on oxidative stress, the NMDA receptor and the proBDNF/mBDNF signaling in the hippocampus of mice. Adult Swiss mice received saline solution or escalating doses (20-100 mg/kg, sc) of morphine for six days. For the next three days, the animals were treated with canola oil, (m-CF3-PhSe)2 (5 and 10 mg/kg, ig) or methadone (5 mg/kg, sc) whereas morphine injections were discontinued. On day 9, physical withdrawal signs and depressive-like behavior were assessed 30 min after the last administration of (m-CF3-PhSe)2. Although short-term treatment with (m-CF3-PhSe)2 at both doses suppressed the aversive physical and affective signs in morphine withdrawn-mice, the highest dose of (m-CF3-PhSe)2 per se increased the teeth chattering manifestation. The intrinsic antioxidant property of (m-CF3-PhSe)2 modulated oxidative stress, it also restored the NMDA receptor levels in the hippocampus of morphine withdrawn-mice. Besides, (m-CF3-PhSe)2 downregulated the proBDNF/p-75NTR/JNK pro-apoptotic pathway without affecting the mBDNF/TrkB/ERK/CREB pro-survival signaling in the hippocampus of morphine withdrawn-mice. The results show that (m-CF3-PhSe)2 treatment modulated the hippocampal neurotoxic adaptations and abolished the depressive-like phenotype following morphine withdrawal in mice.