Enhanced expression of heme oxygenase-1 in the locus coeruleus can be associated with anxiolytic-like effects

Rafael Alves Cazuza, Olga Pol, Christie Ramos Andrade Leite-Panissi

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    © 2017 Elsevier B.V. Some researchers have shown that carbon monoxide (CO) plays a role in emotional behavior modulation through intracellular 3′-5′-guanosine monophosphate mechanisms in the locus coeruleus (LC). In fact, the LC region has a high expression of the heme-oxygenase (HO) enzymes, which are responsible for the production of CO. However, the physiological mechanism by which the HO-CO pathway participates in the modulation of emotional responses in the LC still needs clarification. This study evaluates whether a systemic intraperitoneal treatment is able to alter behavioral responses (in the elevated plus-maze and the light-dark box test) and the expression of the HO-1 and HO-2 enzymes in the LC. The tested treatments are acute (3 h before) or chronic (twice daily for 10 days) and with a carbon monoxide releaser (tricarbonyldichlororuthenium [II] dimer, or CORM-2) or with a HO-1 inducer compound (cobalt protoporphyrin IX, CoPP). The results for the elevated plus-maze show that CO–for both acute or chronic administration of either drug–ncreased the number of entries into the open arms and the percentage of time spent in the open arms. Regarding the light-dark box test, chronic treatment with either drug increased the time spent in the light compartment. Additionally, treatment with CORM-2 or CoPP, either acutely or chronically, increased HO-1 enzyme expression in the LC cells. This study shows that systemic CO treatment can promote an anxiolytic-like effect and the expression of HO-1 enzymes in LC cells.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)204-210
    JournalBehavioural Brain Research
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2018


    • Carbon monoxide
    • Elevated plus maze
    • Emotional behavior
    • Heme-oxygenase
    • Light-dark box test


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