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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Sep 2023 - 8 Sep 2023

Basic Science, Psychology

Animal Studies, Neurobiology, Pharmacology/Drug Development, Sex Differences

Arthritis, Inflammation/Inflammatory

2023 Aug 30

Biomed Pharmacother



The antidepressant drugs vortioxetine and duloxetine differentially and sex-dependently affect animal well-being, cognitive performance, cardiac redox status and histology in a model of osteoarthritis.


Nastić K, Pecikoza U, Labudović-Borović M, Kotur-Stevuljević J, Micov A, Jovanović A, Tomić M, Stepanović-Petrović R


Osteoarthritis represents a leading cause of disability with limited treatment options. Furthermore, it is frequently accompanied by cardiovascular and cognitive disorders, which can be exacerbated by osteoarthritis or drugs used for its treatment. Here, we examined the behavioral and cardiac effects of the novel antidepressant vortioxetine in an osteoarthritis model, and compared them to duloxetine (an established osteoarthritis treatment). Osteoarthritis was induced in male and female rats with an intraarticular sodium-monoiodoacetate injection. Antidepressants were orally administered for 28 days following induction. During this period the acetone, burrowing and novel-object-recognition tests (NORT) were used to assess the effects of antidepressants on pain hypersensitivity (cold allodynia), animal well-being and cognitive performance, respectively. Following behavioral experiments, heart muscles were collected for assessment of redox status/histology. Antidepressant treatment dose-dependently reduced cold allodynia in rats with osteoarthritis. Duloxetine (but not vortioxetine) depressed burrowing behavior in osteoarthritic rats in a dose-related manner. Osteoarthritis induction reduced cognitive performance in NORT, which was dose-dependently alleviated by vortioxetine (duloxetine improved performance only in female rats). Furthermore, duloxetine (but not vortioxetine) increased oxidative stress parameters in the heart muscles of female (but not male) rats and induced histological changes in cardiomyocytes indicative of oxidative damage. Vortioxetine displayed comparable efficacy to duloxetine in reducing pain hypersensitivity. Furthermore, vortioxetine (unlike duloxetine) dose-dependently improved cognitive performance and had no adverse effect on burrowing behavior (animal surrogate of well-being) and cardiac redox status/histology. Our results indicate that vortioxetine could be a potential osteoarthritis treatment (with better characteristics compared to duloxetine).