Antidepressant and anxiolytic potential of the multimodal antidepressant vortioxetine (Lu AA21004) assessed by behavioural and neurogenesis outcomes in mice

Jean Philippe Guilloux, Indira Mendez-David, Alan Pehrson, Bruno P. Guiard, Christelle Repérant, Sophie Orvoën, Alain M. Gardier, René Hen, Ebert Bjarke, Miller Silke, Sanchez Connie, Denis J. David

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Vortioxetine (Lu AA21004) is an investigational novel antidepressant with multimodal activity that functions as a 5-HT 3 , 5-HT 7 and 5-HT 1D receptor antagonist, 5-HT 1B receptor partial agonist, 5-HT 1A receptor agonist and inhibitor of the 5-HT transporter in vitro. Here we explore its anxiolytic and antidepressant potential in adult mice. Vortioxetine was assessed in BalB/cJ@RJ mice using the open-field and forced-swim tests (acute: p.o. 1 h, repeated: daily p.o. 21 days), and in 129S6/SvEvTac mice using the novelty suppressed feeding paradigm (acute: p.o. 1 h, sustained: daily p.o. 14 or 21 days). Fluoxetine and diazepam were controls. Acute and repeated dosing of vortioxetine produced more pronounced anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like activities than fluoxetine. Vortioxetine significantly increased cell proliferation and cell survival and stimulated maturation of immature granule cells in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus after 21 days of treatment. After 14 days, a high dose of vortioxetine increased dendritic length and the number of dendrite intersections, suggesting that vortioxetine accelerates the maturation of immature neurons. Vortioxetine displays an antidepressant and anxiolytic profile following repeated administration associated with increased neurogenesis at several stages. Vortioxetine effects were observed at low levels of 5-HT transporter occupancy, suggesting an alternative mechanism of action to 5-HT reuptake inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-159
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013



  • Antidepressant
  • Anxiolytic
  • Behaviour
  • Mice
  • Multimodal antidepressant
  • Neurogenesis

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