Clinically, juveniles are more sensitive to stress than adults, and exposure to stress as juveniles prolongs psychiatric symptoms and causes treatment resistance. However, the efficacy of antidepressants for juveniles with psychiatric disorders is unknown. In the present study, we investigated whether the expression or development of impaired social behavior was attenuated by memantine, a non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist. In addition, we clarified the molecular mechanisms related to intracellular signal transduction through NMDA receptors and the ameliorating effect of memantine in mice with impaired social behavior. Acute administration of memantine before the social interaction test, but not before exposure to social defeat stress, attenuated social behavioral impairment. A single social defeat stress increased the phosphorylation of NMDA receptor subunit GluN2A and extracellular-signal-related kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2). Memantine inhibited the increase of phosphorylated GluN2A and ERK1/2 resulting from social interaction behavior. In both GluN2A deficient and pharmacological blockaded mice, social behavioral impairment was not observed in the social interaction test through regulation of ERK1/2 phosphorylation. These findings suggest that memantine ameliorates social behavioral impairment in mice exposed to a single social defeat stress as juveniles by regulating the NMDA receptor and subsequent ERK1/2 signaling activation. Memantine may constitute a novel therapeutic drug for stress-related psychiatric disorders in juveniles with adverse juvenile experiences.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience