Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen have shown initial promise in producing antidepressant effects. This is perhaps due to these drugs being peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) agonists, in addition to their inhibition of cyclooxygenase enzymes. Some, albeit mixed, evidence suggests that PPARγ agonists have antidepressant effects in humans and animals. This double-blind, placebo-controlled, pharmacologic functional magnetic resonance imaging (ph-fMRI) study aimed to elucidate the impact of ibuprofen on emotion-related neural activity and determine whether observed effects were due to changes in PPARγ gene expression. Twenty healthy volunteers completed an emotional face matching task during three fMRI sessions, conducted one week apart. Placebo, 200 mg, or 600 mg ibuprofen was administered 1 h prior to each scan in a pseudo-randomized order. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were collected at each session to isolate RNA for PPARγ gene expression. At the doses used, ibuprofen did not significantly change PPARγ gene expression. Ibuprofen dose was associated with decreased blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) activation in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and fusiform gyrus during emotional face processing (faces-shapes). Additionally, PPARγ gene expression was associated with increased BOLD activation in the insula and transverse and superior temporal gyri (faces-shapes). No interaction effects between ibuprofen dose and PPARγ gene expression on BOLD activation were observed. Thus, results suggest that ibuprofen and PPARγ may have independent effects on emotional neurocircuitry. Future studies are needed to further delineate the roles of ibuprofen and PPARγ in exerting antidepressant effects in healthy as well as clinical populations.
- Emotional faces
- PPAR gamma