Melatonin (MLT) is a neurohormone known to be involved in the regulation of anxiety. Most of the physiological actions of MLT in the brain are mediated by two high-affinity G-protein-coupled receptors, denoted MT1 and MT2. However, the particular role of these receptors in anxiety remains to be defined. Here we used a novel MT2-selective partial agonist, UCM765 to evaluate the involvement of MT2 receptors in anxiety. Adult male rats were acutely injected with UCM765 (5–10–20 mg/kg), MLT (20 mg/kg) or diazepam (DZ, 1 mg/kg). Anxiety-related behaviors were assessed in the elevated plus maze test (EPMT), novelty suppressed feeding test (NSFT) and open field test (OFT). UCM765 at the dose of 10 mg/kg showed anxiolytic-like properties by increasing the time spent in the open arm of the EPMT, and by reducing the latency to eat in a novel environment in the NSFT. In the EPMT, animals treated with UCM765 (10 mg/kg) or MLT (20 mg/kg) spent more time in the open arms compared to vehicle-treated animals, but to a lesser extent compared to DZ (1 mg/kg). In the NSFT, all treatments similarly decreased the latency to eat in a novel environment compared to vehicle. UCM765 and MLT did not affect the total time and the number of entries into the central area of the OFT, but unlike DZ, did not impair locomotion. The anxiolytic effects of UCM765 and MLT in the EPMT and the NSFT were blocked using a pre-treatment with the MT1/MT2 antagonist luzindole (10 mg/kg) or the MT2 antagonist 4P-PDOT (10 mg/kg). These results demonstrated, for the first time, the anxiolytic properties of UCM765 and suggest that MT2-receptors may be considered a novel target for the development of anxiolytic drugs.
Anxiolytic effects of the melatonin MT2 receptor partial agonist UCM765: Comparison with melatonin and diazepam / Ochoa-Sanchez R.; Rainer Q.; Comai S.; Spadoni G.; Bedini A.; Rivara S.; Fraschini F.; Mor M.; Tarzia G.; Gobbi G.. - In: PROGRESS IN NEURO-PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY & BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY. - ISSN 0278-5846. - 39(2012), pp. 318-325. [10.1016/j.pnpbp.2012.07.003]
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