Metabolic signature in nucleus accumbens for anti-depressant-like effects of acetyl-L-carnitine
Cherix A., Larrieu T., Grosse J., Rodrigues J., McEwen B., Nasca C., Gruetter R., Sandi C.
<jats:p>Emerging evidence suggests that hierarchical status provides vulnerability to develop stress-induced depression. Energy metabolic changes in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) were recently related to hierarchical status and vulnerability to develop depression-like behavior. Acetyl-L-carnitine (LAC), a mitochondria-boosting supplement, has shown promising antidepressant-like effects opening therapeutic opportunities for restoring energy balance in depressed patients. We investigated the metabolic impact in the NAc of antidepressant LAC treatment in chronically-stressed mice using 1H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS). High rank, but not low rank, mice, as assessed with the tube test, showed behavioral vulnerability to stress, supporting a higher susceptibility of high social rank mice to develop depressive-like behaviors. High rank mice also showed reduced levels of several energy-related metabolites in the NAc that were counteracted by LAC treatment. Therefore, we reveal a metabolic signature in the NAc for antidepressant-like effects of LAC in vulnerable mice characterized by restoration of stress-induced neuroenergetics alterations and lipid function.</jats:p>