Antoine Timothée Cherix, João Pedro de Matos Rodrigues, Jocelin Grosse, Rolf Gruetter, Thomas Didier Larrieu, Maria del Carmen Sandi Perez
Emerging evidence suggests that hierarchical status provide vulnerability to develop stress-induced depression. Energy metabolic changes in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) were recently related to hierarchical status and vulnerability to develop depression-like behavior. Acetyl-L-carnitine (LAC), a mitochondria-boosting supplement, has shown promising antidepressant-like effects opening therapeutic opportunities for restoring energy balance in depressed patients. We investigated the metabolic impact in the NAc of antidepressant LAC treatment in chronically-stressed mice using (1)H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS). High rank, but not low rank, mice, as assessed with the tube test, showed behavioral vulnerability to stress, supporting a higher susceptibility of high social rank mice to develop depressive-like behaviors. High rank mice also showed reduced levels of several energy-related metabolites in the NAc that were counteracted by LAC treatment. Therefore, we reveal a metabolic signature in the NAc for antidepressant-like effects of LAC in vulnerable mice characterized by restoration of stress-induced neuroenergetics alterations and lipid function.