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Effects of repeated adolescent stress and serotonin transporter gene partial knockout in mice on behaviors and brain structures relevant to major depression


Spinelli, Simona; Müller, Tanja; Friedel, Miriam; Sigrist, Hannes; Lesch, Klaus-Peter; Henkelman, Mark; Rudin, Markus; Seifritz, Erich; Pryce, Christopher R (2013). Effects of repeated adolescent stress and serotonin transporter gene partial knockout in mice on behaviors and brain structures relevant to major depression. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience:7:215.

Abstract

In humans, exposure to stress during development is associated with structural and functional alterations of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), amygdala (AMY), and hippocampus (HC) and their circuits of connectivity, and with an increased risk for developing major depressive disorder particularly in carriers of the short (s) variant of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) gene-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR). Although changes in these regions are found in carriers of the s allele and/or in depressed patients, evidence for a specific genotype × developmental stress effect on brain structure and function is limited. Here, we investigated the effect of repeated stress exposure during adolescence in mice with partial knockout of the 5-HTT gene (HET) vs. wildtype (WT) on early-adulthood behavioral measures and brain structure [using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)] relevant to human major depression. Behaviorally, adolescent stress (AS) increased anxiety and decreased activity and did so to a similar degree in HET and WT. In a probabilistic reversal learning task, HET-AS mice achieved fewer reversals than did HET-No-AS mice. 5-HTT genotype and AS were without effect on corticosterone stress response. In terms of structural brain differences, AS reduced the volume of two long-range white matter tracts, the optic tract (OT) and the cerebral peduncle (CP), in WT mice specifically. In a region-of-interest analysis, AS was associated with increased HC volume and HET genotype with a decreased frontal lobe volume. In conclusion, we found that 5-HTT and AS genotype exerted long-term effects on behavior and development of brain regions relevant to human depression.

Abstract

In humans, exposure to stress during development is associated with structural and functional alterations of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), amygdala (AMY), and hippocampus (HC) and their circuits of connectivity, and with an increased risk for developing major depressive disorder particularly in carriers of the short (s) variant of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) gene-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR). Although changes in these regions are found in carriers of the s allele and/or in depressed patients, evidence for a specific genotype × developmental stress effect on brain structure and function is limited. Here, we investigated the effect of repeated stress exposure during adolescence in mice with partial knockout of the 5-HTT gene (HET) vs. wildtype (WT) on early-adulthood behavioral measures and brain structure [using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)] relevant to human major depression. Behaviorally, adolescent stress (AS) increased anxiety and decreased activity and did so to a similar degree in HET and WT. In a probabilistic reversal learning task, HET-AS mice achieved fewer reversals than did HET-No-AS mice. 5-HTT genotype and AS were without effect on corticosterone stress response. In terms of structural brain differences, AS reduced the volume of two long-range white matter tracts, the optic tract (OT) and the cerebral peduncle (CP), in WT mice specifically. In a region-of-interest analysis, AS was associated with increased HC volume and HET genotype with a decreased frontal lobe volume. In conclusion, we found that 5-HTT and AS genotype exerted long-term effects on behavior and development of brain regions relevant to human depression.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:12 Feb 2014 15:14
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 03:20
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1662-5153
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2013.00215
PubMed ID:24427124

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