Effects of clomipramine administration on Syrian hamster circadian system and behavior

Paola C. Yannielli, Martín Cadeiras, Liz Gregoretti, Lucila Kargieman, Daniel P. Cardinali, Diego A. Golombek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The aim of the present work is to discuss the available data on neonatal and adult antidepressant treatment in relation to animal models of depression and serotonergic modulation of the circadian system, with a particular emphasis on our own published and unpublished work on the effects of clomipramine (a serotonin reuptake inhibitor) on the Syrian hamster circadian behavior. Neonatal clomipramine treatment (15 mg/kg from postnatal days 8 to 21) significantly augmented the amplitude of the wheel running rhythm, as well as delayed its acrophase and increased the time to reentrain after a 6-h phase advance of the light-dark cycle. Neonatally clomipramine-treated hamsters had a shorter circadian period than saline-treated animals under constant light - but not under constant dark- conditions, exhibited decreased phase advances after light pulses applied at late subjective night and greater phase advances after i.p. administration of the 5-HT1(A)-receptor agonist 8-OH-DPA at midday. These animals also exhibited more locomotor activity than controls, but did not display the typical circadian variation in anxiety-related behavior, as measured in a plus-maze paradigm. They also showed an increased 5-HIAA/5-HT ratio in hypothalamus and midbrain raphe, while 5-HT content was decreased in frontal cortex and anterior hypothalamic areas. Since drugs linked to the serotonergic system are able to modify the circadian system, we decided to test whether acute and chronic clomipramine administration in adulthood was able to change: a) the phase of free running activity rhythms; (b) light-induced phase shifts, and (c) hypothalamic 5-HT turnover. Acute clomipramine injection had a phase-dependent effect on the free running activity rhythm, with phase advances at CT 0-8 being significantly higher than at CT 8-16. Pretreatment with clomipramine inhibited phase advances in response to light pulses when applied at CT 19 while phase delays at CT 14 remained unaffected. This acute treatment also decreased 5-HT turnover in the SCN at both CTs. In contrast, chronic clomipramine administration potentiated light-induced phase advances, without changes in period, amplitude or central 5-HT turnover. Taken together, these data support the view that clomipramine, as other antidepressant drugs, can affect the expression of the circadian rhythmicity in Syrian hamsters, possibly through serotonergic mechanisms in the case of acute treatments, and more complex behavioral interaction in the case of neonatal and chronic treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-415
Number of pages25
JournalBiological Rhythm Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology (medical)


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