Interactions between whole-body heating and citalopram on body temperature, antidepressant-like behaviour, and neurochemistry in adolescent male rats

Matthew W. Hale, Jodi L. Lukkes, Kathleen F. Dady, Kyle J. Kelly, Evan D. Paul, David G. Smith, Jared D. Heinze, Charles L. Raison, Christopher A. Lowry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Evidence suggests that affective disorders are associated with altered thermoregulation, and it has been hypothesized that therapeutic strategies targeting body-to-brain thermosensory systems may be effective for treating depression. Consistent with this hypothesis, a recent randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial has suggested that infrared whole-body hyperthermia has therapeutic potential for the treatment of depression. Preclinical models may help uncover the mechanism(s) underlying the antidepressant-like effects of whole-body heating. We have previously shown that exposure to whole-body heating potentiates antidepressant-like behavioural responses following administration of a behaviourally subthreshold dose of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor citalopram, but the neurochemical and behavioural interactions between whole body heating and behaviourally effective doses of citalopram are not known. In these experiments, we examined the effects of whole-body heating, either with or without treatment of a suprathreshold dose of citalopram (20 mg/kg, s.c.), on body temperature, antidepressant-like behavioural responses in the forced swim test, and tissue concentrations of serotonin and its metabolite, 5-hydoxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), in the prefrontal cortex of adolescent male Wistar rats. Although whole-body heating did not potentiate the behavioural effects of suprathreshold citalopram, citalopram was observed to increase body temperature and potentiate the effects of whole-body heating on body temperature. Whole-body heating, by itself, decreased serotonin concentrations in the infralimbic cortex to a level similar to that observed following treatment with citalopram, suggesting that these treatments have convergent effects on a mesolimbocortical system innervating the medial prefrontal cortex, an effect that was correlated with effects of treatment on body temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-439
Number of pages12
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • Antidepressant
  • Citalopram
  • Depression
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Thermoregulation
  • Whole-body heating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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