Sex-specific antidepressant effects of dietary creatine with and without sub-acute fluoxetine in rats.

Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior

PubMedID: 22429992

Allen PJ, D'Anci KE, Kanarek RB, Renshaw PF. Sex-specific antidepressant effects of dietary creatine with and without sub-acute fluoxetine in rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2012;101(4):588-601.
The potential role of metabolic impairments in the pathophysiology of depression is motivating researchers to evaluate the treatment efficacy of creatine, a naturally occurring energetic and neuroprotective compound found in brain and muscle tissues. Growing evidence is demonstrating the benefit of oral creatine supplements for reducing depressive symptoms in humans and animals. A novel question is whether dietary creatine, when combined with antidepressant drug therapy, would be more effective than either compound alone. To answer this question, four studies were conducted to investigate the behavioral effects of combined creatine and low-dose fluoxetine treatment using the forced swim test in male and female rats. Sprague-Dawley rats were fed powdered rodent chow supplemented with 0%, 2% or 4% w/w creatine monohydrate for 5 weeks. Rats were injected with fluoxetine (5.0 or 10.0 mg/kg) or saline according to a sub-acute dosing schedule. Female rats maintained on a 4% creatine diet displayed antidepressant-like effects compared to non-supplemented females prior to fluoxetine treatment. In contrast, creatine did not alter behavior reliably in males. Following drug treatment and a second forced swim trial, the antidepressant-like profile of creatine remained significant only in females co-administered 5.0 mg/kg fluoxetine. Moreover, in females only, supplementation with 4% creatine produced a more robust antidepressant-like behavioral profile compared to either dose of fluoxetine alone. Estrous cycle data indicated that ovarian hormones influenced the antidepressant-like effects of creatine. Addressing the issue of sex differences in response to treatment may affect our understanding of creatine, its relationship with depressive behavior, and may lead to sex-specific therapeutic strategies.