Pre-clinical investigations of β-carboline alkaloids as antidepressant agents: A systematic review

Abstract : Depressive disorders remain a current public health problem whose prevalence has increased in the past decades. In the constant search for new therapeutic alternatives, β-carboline alkaloids have been identified as good candidates for new antidepressant drugs. In this systematic review, we summarized all pre-clinical investigations involving the use of natural or semisynthetic β-carboline in depression models. A literature search was conducted in August 2018, using PubMed, Scopus and Science Direct databases. All reports were carefully analyzed, and data extraction was conducted through standardized forms. Methodological quality assessment of in vivo studies was also performed. The entire systematic review was performed according to PRISMA statement. From a total of 373 articles, 26 met all inclusion criteria. In vitro and in vivo studies have evaluated a wide variety of β-carbolines through enzymatic and binding assays, and acute or chronic animal models. Most of the in vivo and in vitro studies is concentrated on two molecules: harman and harmine. They have been investigated in several animal models and some mechanisms of action have been proposed for their antidepressant activity. In general, β-carbolines modulate 5-HT and GABA systems, promote neurogenesis, induce neuroendocrine response and restore astrocytic function, being effective when administrated acutely or chronically in different animal models, including chronic mild stress protocols. In short, β-carbolines are multi-target antidepressant compounds and may be useful in the treatment of depressive disorders.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 9:55:01 AM
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Christiane Adrielly Alves Ferraz, Raimundo Gonçalves de Oliveira Júnior, Laurent Picot, Jackson Roberto Guedes da Silva Almeida, Xirley Pereira Nunes. Pre-clinical investigations of β-carboline alkaloids as antidepressant agents: A systematic review. Fitoterapia, Elsevier, 2019, 137, pp.104196. ⟨10.1016/j.fitote.2019.104196⟩. ⟨hal-02404026⟩

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