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Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH), a co-substrate for energy transfer in the oxidative phosphorylation, has supposedly beneficial
effects on CNS related diseases, e.g. shown in an open study with depressive patients (1). To our knowledge there are no data concerning the efficacy of NADH in animal tests. Acute effects of
NADH and the precursor nicotinamide, compared to controls and the antidepressants desipramine and fluoxetine were examined in the forced swim test (FST) in Wistar rats. NADH, but not nicotinamide,
reduced immobility and increased swimming ehaviour in the FST, with a minimum effective dose of 5 mg/kg. NADH-induced behavioural profile was similar to fluoxetine, but different to desipramine. NADH did not increase motor activity in the open field,indicating that the effects in the FST are not related to stimulatory action. These data support an antidepressant potential of NADH.
1. Birkmayer, J., Birkmayer, W. New Trends Clin Neuropharmacol 5 (1991) 19 – 25.