Acute dosing of vortioxetine strengthens event-related brain activity associated with engagement of attention and cognitive functioning in rats

Bettina Laursen, Cecilie H Bundgaard, Carina Graversen, Morten Grupe, Connie Sanchez, Steven C Leiser, Helge Bjarup Dissing Sørensen, Asbjørn M  Drewes, Jesper F. Bastlund

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Studies of the antidepressant vortioxetine have demonstrated beneficial effects on cognitive dysfunction associated with depression. To elucidate how vortioxetine modulates neuronal activity during cognitive processing we investigated the effects of vortioxetine (3 and 10 mg/kg) in rats performing an auditory oddball (deviant target) task. We investigated neuronal activity in target vs non-target tone responses in vehicle-treated animals using electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings. Furthermore, we characterized task performance and EEG changes in target tone responses of vortioxetine vs controls. Quantification of event-related potentials (ERPs) was supplemented by analyses of spectral power and inter-trial phase-locking. The assessed brain regions included prelimbic cortex, the hippocampus, and thalamus. As compared to correct rejection of non-target tones, correct target tone responses elicited increased EEG power in all regions. Additionally, neuronal synchronization was increased in vehicle-treated rats during both early and late ERP responses to target tones. This indicates a significant consistency of local phases across trials during high attentional load. During early sensory processing, vortioxetine increased both thalamic and frontal synchronized gamma band activity and EEG power in all brain regions measured. Finally, vortioxetine increased the amplitude of late hippocampal P3-like ERPs, the rodent correlate of the human P300 ERP. These findings suggest differential effects of vortioxetine during early sensory registration and late endogenous processing of auditory discrimination. Strengthened P3-like ERP response may relate to the pro-cognitive profile of vortioxetine in rodents. Further investigations are warranted to explore the mechanism by which vortioxetine increases network synchronization during attentive and cognitive processing.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBrain Research
    Pages (from-to)37–47
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Electrophysiology
    • Neuronal Oscillation
    • P300 Event-Related Potential
    • Phase-Locking Factor
    • Rat
    • Vortioxetine


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