DOI: 10.1007/s12017-016-8425-7 Pages: 57-68
Article Type: Original Paper

Antidepressant-Like and Anxiolytic-Like Effects of ZBD-2, a Novel Ligand for the Translocator Protein (18 kDa)

1. Nanjing University, Department of Orthopedics, Nanjing General Hospital of Nanjing Military Command

2. The Fourth Military Medical University, Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy

Correspondence to:
Ming-gao Zhao
Tel: 0086-29-84774552



Activation of translocator protein (18 kDa) (TSPO) plays an important role to mediate rapid anxiolytic efficacy in stress response and stress-related disorders by the production of neurosteroids. However, little is known about the ligand of TSPO on the anxiety-like and depressive behaviors and the underlying mechanisms in chronic unpredictable mild stress (UCMS) mice. In the present study, a novel ligand of TSPO, ZBD-2 [N-benzyl-N-ethyl-2-(7,8-dihydro-7-benzyl-8-oxo-2-phenyl-9H-purin-9-yl) acetamide] synthesized by our laboratory, was used to evaluate the anxiolytic and antidepressant efficacy and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. ZBD-2 (3 mg/kg) significantly attenuated anxiety-like and depressive behaviors in the UCMS mice, which was blocked by TSPO antagonist PK11195 (3 mg/kg). Treatment of ZBD-2 reversed the decrease in biogenic amines (norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin) in the brain region of hippocampus in the UCMS mice. The decreases in TSPO, GluN2B-containing N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, GluA1, p-GluA1-Ser831, p-GluA1-Ser845, PSD-95, and GABAA-a2 were integrated with the increases of CaMKII and iNOS levels in the hippocampus of the UCMS mice. ZBD-2 significantly reversed the changes of above proteins. However, ZBD-2 or PK11195 treatment did not affect the levels of GluN2A-containing NMDA receptors and the total levels of GAD67. Our study provides strong evidences that ZBD-2 has a therapeutic effect on chronic stress-related disorders such as depression and anxiety through regulating the biogenic amine levels and the synaptic proteins in the hippocampus.

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  • Accepted: Jul 2, 2016
  • Online: Aug 20, 2016

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