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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 15, 2019

Celecoxib, ibuprofen, and indomethacin alleviate depression-like behavior induced by interferon-alfa in mice

  • Azadeh Mesripour ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Shahrzad Shahnooshi and Valiollah Hajhashemi



Interferon-α (IFNα) therapy causes psychiatric side effects, including depression that may result in poor compliance of therapy. It is important to find alternative therapies for the prevention of IFNα induced depression. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been useful in depressive disorder. Therefore the effects of celecoxib, ibuprofen, and indomethacin were evaluated following IFNα-induced depression in mice.


Male albino mice weighing 26 ± 2 g were used. Depression was induced by IFNα (16 × 105 IU/kg, SC) for six consecutive days. Animals were first subject to the locomotor test, then the splash test and finally the forced swimming test (FST) on the 7th day. The NSAIDs were administered (IP) either one single dose before the test, or simultaneously with IFNα.


locomotor activity was only impaired by ibuprofen high dose (75 mg/kg), thus it was not further evaluated. Following IFNα therapy depression-like behaviors were observed; significant changes during the splash test (grooming time 24 ± 7 sec vs. control 63 ± 7 sec), the FST (immobility time 166  ± 15 sec vs. control 128  ± 6 sec), and sucrose preference reduced to 64 ± 0.8%. The NSAIDs noticeably reduced the immobility time in FST, while grooming time was increased. Celecoxib and indomethacin single doses were effective while ibuprofen showed better antidepressant effects when it was administered along with IFNα.


The NSAIDs were able to prevent IFNα induced depression in mice. NSAIDs administration with IFNα does not interfere with clinical benefit effects of IFNα and they could also be useful to prevent IFNα psychiatric side effects, thus further clinical trials are suggested.


All animal procedures were performed in accordance with guidelines for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals Issued by the National Ethical Committee, Iran (Ethical No: IR.MUI.REC.1396.3.902).


This work was supported by the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Council (grant number 396902, 1/15/2018), Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. Authors confirm that there is no conflict of interest in relation to this article.

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: This work was supported by the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Council (grant number 396902, 1/15/2018, Funder Id:, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences.

  3. Employment or leadership: None declared.

  4. Honorarium: None declared.

  5. Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.


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Received: 2019-01-15
Accepted: 2019-03-13
Published Online: 2019-08-15

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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