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Type: Journal article
Title: Pronounced inter-individual variation in plasma cortisol response to fluoxetine hydrochloride in the pig
Author: Latimer-Marsh, L.
Terry, R.
Whittaker, A.
Hiendleder, S.
Ralph, C.
Citation: Animals, 2020; 10(3):504-1-504-6
Publisher: MDPI AG
Issue Date: 2020
ISSN: 2076-2615
Statement of
Laura E. Marsh, Robyn Terry, Alexandra L. Whittaker, Stefan Hiendleder and Cameron R. Ralph
Abstract: Animal welfare assessment requires measures for positive affective state. Pharmacological agents that manipulate affective state can be used to evaluate novel biomarkers for affective state assessment. However, to validate that an agent has modified brain function, a reliable indicator is required. Circulating cortisol has been used as a reporter for effective delivery of the antidepressant selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine hydrochloride to the brain in humans and sheep. Here, we tested cortisol as a reporter for effective delivery of fluoxetine hydrochloride to the pig brain. We hypothesized that following administration of SSRI, innervation of the serotonergic reward pathway would result in activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, leading to increased circulating cortisol levels. Large White-Landrace gilts received either a single intravenous dose of 100 mg fluoxetine hydrochloride suspended in 10 mL saline (n = 4), or 10 mL saline alone (n = 4). Blood samples were collected every 15 min for one hour prior to, and six hours post-treatment. The interaction of treatment x time on mean plasma cortisol levels between 15–165 min post-treatment was significant (p = 0.048) with highest cortisol concentrations of SSRI treated pigs versus controls (+ 98%) at 135 min post-treatment. However, individual cortisol profiles after SSRI treatment revealed high inter-individual variation in response. We conclude that, while combined data imply that plasma cortisol may be a readout for SSRI efficacy, inter-individual variation in SSRI response may preclude application of this approach in the pig. Given the current limited sample size, further research to confirm these findings is needed.
Keywords: cortisol; antidepressant; fluoxetine hydrochloride; pig; affective state; welfare
Description: Published: 18 March 2020
Rights: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
DOI: 10.3390/ani10030504
Appears in Collections:Animal and Veterinary Sciences publications
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