Facilitation of serotonin signaling by SSRIs is attenuated by social isolation.
ABSTRACT: Hypofunction of the serotonergic system is often associated with major depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed to treat these disorders, and require 3-6 weeks of chronic treatment before improvements in the symptoms are observed. SSRIs inhibit serotonin's transporter, and in doing so, increase extracellular serotonin concentrations. Thus, efficacy of SSRIs likely depends upon the brain's adaptive response to sustained increases in serotonin levels. Individual responsiveness to SSRI treatment may depend on a variety of factors that influence these changes, including ongoing stress. Social isolation is a passive, naturalistic form of chronic mild stress that can model depression in rodents. In this study, we examined how 20-day treatment with the SSRI citalopram (CIT) alters marble-burying (MB), open field behavior, and serotonin signaling in single- vs pair-housed animals. We used in vivo voltammetry to measure electrically evoked serotonin, comparing release rate, net overflow, and clearance. Pair-housed mice were significantly more responsive to CIT treatment, exhibiting reduced MB and facilitation of serotonin release that positively correlated with the frequency of electrical stimulation. These effects of CIT treatment were attenuated in single-housed mice. Notably, although CIT treatment enhanced serotonin release in pair-housed mice, it did not significantly alter uptake rate. In summary, we report that chronic SSRI treatment facilitates serotonin release in a frequency-dependent manner, and this effect is blocked by social isolation. These findings suggest that the efficacy of SSRIs in treating depression and OCD may depend on ongoing stressors during treatment.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:We conducted a meta-analysis to examine the following: the time course of response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and clomipramine in pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); whether higher doses of SSRIs are associated with an improved response in pediatric OCD; differences in efficacy among SSRI agents; differences in efficacy between SSRIs and clomipramine; and whether the time course and magnitude of response to SSRIs are different in pediatric and adult patients with OCD. METHOD:We searched PubMed and CENTRAL for randomized controlled trials comparing SSRIs (or clomipramine) to placebo for the treatment of pediatric OCD and using the Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale as an outcome. We extracted weekly symptom data from trials to characterize the trajectory of pharmacological response to SSRIs. Pooled estimates of treatment effect were calculated based on weighted mean differences between the treatment and placebo groups. RESULTS:Nine trials involving 801 children with OCD were included in this meta-analysis. A logarithmic model indicating that the greatest benefits occurred early in treatment best fit the longitudinal data for both clomipramine and SSRIs. Clomipramine was associated with a greater measured benefit compared to placebo than SSRIs. There was no evidence for a relationship between SSRI dosing and treatment effect, although data were limited. Adults and children with OCD demonstrated a similar degree and time course of response to SSRIs in OCD. CONCLUSION:These results suggest that the greatest incremental treatment gains in pediatric OCD occur early in SSRI treatment (similar to adults with OCD and children and adults with major depression).
Project description:Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were designed to treat depression by increasing serotonin levels throughout the brain via inhibition of clearance from the extracellular space. Although increases in serotonin levels are observed after acute SSRI exposure, 3-6 weeks of continuous use is required for relief from the symptoms of depression. Thus, it is now believed that plasticity in multiple brain systems that are downstream of serotonergic inputs contributes to the therapeutic efficacy of SSRIs. The onset of antidepressant effects also coincides with desensitization of somatodendritic serotonin autoreceptors in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), suggesting that disrupting inhibitory feedback within the serotonin system may contribute to the therapeutic effects of SSRIs. Previously, we showed that chronic SSRI treatment caused a frequency-dependent facilitation of serotonin signaling that persisted in the absence of uptake inhibition. In this work, we use in vivo fast-scan cyclic voltammetry in mice to investigate a similar facilitation after a single treatment of the SSRI citalopram hydrobromide. Acute citalopram hydrobromide treatment resulted in frequency-dependent increases of evoked serotonin release in the substantia nigra pars reticulata. These increases were independent of changes in uptake velocity, but required SERT expression. Using microinjections, we show that the frequency-dependent enhancement in release is because of SERT inhibition in the DRN, demonstrating that SSRIs can enhance serotonin release by inhibiting uptake in a location distal to the terminal release site. The novel finding that SERT inhibition can disrupt modulatory mechanisms at the level of the DRN to facilitate serotonin release will help future studies investigate serotonin's role in depression and motivated behavior. In this work, stimulations of the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) evoke serotonin release that is recorded in the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNpr) using in vivo fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. Systemic administration of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) causes both an increase in t<sub>1/2</sub> and an increase in [5-HT]<sub>max</sub> in the SNpr. Local application of SSRI to the DRN recapitulates the increase in [5-HT]<sub>max</sub> observed in the SNpr without affecting uptake. Thus, SSRIs increase serotonin signaling via two distinct SERT-mediated mechanisms.
Project description:The treatment of depression with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SSRIs, is important to study on a neurochemical level because of the therapeutic variability experienced by many depressed patients. We employed the rapid temporal capabilities of fast scan cyclic voltammetry at carbon fiber microelectrodes to study the effects of a popular SSRI, escitalopram (ESCIT), marketed as Lexapro, on serotonin in mice. We report novel, dynamic serotonin behavior after acute ESCIT doses, characterized by a rapid increase in stimulated serotonin release and a gradual rise in serotonin clearance over 120 min. Dynamic changes after acute SSRI doses may be clinically relevant to the pathology of increased depression or suicidality after onset of antidepressant treatment. Due to the short-term variability of serotonin responses after acute ESCIT, we outline difficulties in creating dose response curves and we suggest effective means to visualize dynamic serotonin changes after SSRIs. Correlating chemical serotonin patterns to clinical findings will allow a finer understanding of SSRI mechanisms, ultimately providing a platform for reducing therapeutic variability.
Project description:Whether brain network connectivity during goal-directed planning in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is abnormal and restored by treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) remains unknown. This study investigated whether the disrupted network connectivity during the Tower of London (ToL) planning task in medication-free OCD patients could be restored by SSRI treatment. Seventeen medication-free OCD patients and 21 matched healthy controls (HCs) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while performing the ToL task at baseline and again after 16 weeks of SSRI treatment. Internetwork connectivity was compared across the groups and treatment statuses (pretreatment versus posttreatment). At baseline, compared with the HCs, the OCD patients showed lower internetwork connectivity between the dorsal attention network and the default-mode network during the ToL planning task. After 16 weeks of SSRI treatment, the OCD patients showed improved clinical symptoms accompanied by normalized network connectivity, although their improved behavioral performance in the ToL task did not reach that of the HCs. Our findings support the conceptualization of OCD as a network disease characterized by an imbalance between brain networks during goal-directed planning and suggest that internetwork connectivity may serve as an early biomarker of the effects of SSRIs on goal-directed planning.
Project description:Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are first-line pharmacological agents for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, because nearly half of patients show insufficient SSRI responses, serotonergic dysfunction in heterogeneous OCD patients should be investigated for precision medicine. We aimed to determine whether functional connectivity (FC) of the raphe nucleus (RN), the major source of most serotonergic neurons, was altered in OCD patients and could predict the SSRI response. A total of 102 medication-free OCD patients and 101 matched healthy control (HC) subjects participated in resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Among them, 54 OCD patients were treated with SSRIs for 16 weeks, resulting in 26 responders and 28 nonresponders. Seed-based whole brain FC with the RN as a seed region was compared between the OCD and HC groups, as well as between SSRI responders and nonresponders. FC cluster values showing significant group differences were used to investigate factors correlated with symptomatic severity before treatment and predictive of SSRI response. Compared to HCs, OCD patients exhibited significantly larger FC between the RN and temporal cortices including the middle temporal gyrus (MTG), paracingulate gyrus, amygdala, hippocampus, putamen, thalamus, and brain stem. Greater RN-left MTG FC was positively correlated with OC symptom severity at baseline. In addition, larger FC of the RN-left MTG was also found in SSRI nonresponders compared to responders, which was a significant predictor of SSRI response after 16 weeks. The FC of RN may reflect the neurobiological underpinning of OCD and could aid future precision medicine as a differential brain-based biomarker.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>To compare adverse events (AEs), suicidality, and AE-related discontinuation in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of pediatric patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety disorders treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).<h4>Method</h4>MEDLINE, PubMed, Web of Science, PsycINFO, and Embase were searched for peer-reviewed, English-language articles from inception through March 1, 2019. We identified prospective, randomized SSRI and SNRI studies in patients <18 years of age with OCD or generalized, separation, or social anxiety disorders. AE rates were extracted and medication-placebo differences were examined using Bayesian hierarchical models, then posterior estimates of relative risk (RR) were determined for each AE by medication class and disorder.<h4>Results</h4>Data were included from 18 trials (2,631 patients) and 7 medications (16 SSRI and 4 SNRI trials). Compared with placebo, SSRIs were associated with a greater likelihood of AE-related discontinuation (RR 3.59, credible interval [CrI] 0.019-0.067, p = .0003), activation (RR 2.39, CrI 0.048-0.125, p = .003), sedation (RR 1.94, CrI 0.035-0.157, p = .002), insomnia (RR 1.93, CrI 0.040-0.149, p = .001), abdominal pain (RR 1.53, CrI 0.032-0.164, p = .005), and headache (RR 1.24, CrI 0.003-0.139, p = .04). Activation was more common with SSRIs (versus SNRIs, RR 1.32, CrI 0.018-0.114, p = .007). Neither SSRIs nor SNRIs were associated with treatment-emergent suicidality.<h4>Conclusion</h4>In pediatric OCD and anxiety disorders, SSRIs (compared with placebo) are associated with distinct AEs and greater AE-related discontinuation, although their tolerability does not differ between anxiety disorders and OCD. Compared with SNRIs, SSRIs are more likely to produce activation. Class-related AEs are important for clinicians to consider, particularly in light of data suggesting differences in class-related efficacy. Whereas SSRIs are superior to SNRIs and the treatment of choice for anxiety, for youths who become activated on SSRIs, SNRIs might represent a good second choice given their reported efficacy and lower risk of activation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Serotonin (5-HT) is a neurotransmitter with important roles in the regulation of neurobehavioral processes, particularly those regulating affect in humans. Drugs that potentiate serotonergic neurotransmission by selectively inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin (SSRIs) are widely used for the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Although the regulation of serotonin synthesis may be an factor in SSRI efficacy, the effect of chronic SSRI administration on 5-HT synthesis is not well understood. Here, we describe effects of chronic administration of the SSRI citalopram (CIT) on 5-HT synthesis and content in the mouse forebrain. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Citalopram was administered continuously to adult male C57BL/6J mice via osmotic minipump for 2 days, 14 days or 28 days. Plasma citalopram levels were found to be within the clinical range. 5-HT synthesis was assessed using the decarboxylase inhibition method. Citalopram administration caused a suppression of 5-HT synthesis at all time points. CIT treatment also caused a reduction in forebrain 5-HIAA content. Following chronic CIT treatment, forebrain 5-HT stores were more sensitive to the depleting effects of acute decarboxylase inhibition. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Taken together, these results demonstrate that chronic citalopram administration causes a sustained suppression of serotonin synthesis in the mouse forebrain. Furthermore, our results indicate that chronic 5-HT reuptake inhibition renders 5-HT brain stores more sensitive to alterations in serotonin synthesis. These results suggest that the regulation of 5-HT synthesis warrants consideration in efforts to develop novel antidepressant strategies.
Project description:Human epidemiological and animal-model studies suggest that separate exposure to stress or serotonin-selective reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants during pregnancy increases risks for neurodevelopmental disorders in offspring. Yet, little is known about the combined effects of maternal stress and SSRIs with regard to brain development in utero. We found that the placenta is highly permeable to the commonly prescribed SSRI (±)-citalopram (CIT) in humans and mice, allowing rapid exposure of the fetal brain to this drug. We investigated the effects of maternal chronic unpredictable stress in mice with or without maternal oral administration of CIT from embryonic day (E)8 to E17. We assessed fetal brain development using magnetic resonance imaging and quantified changes in serotonergic, thalamocortical, and cortical development. In utero exposure to maternal stress did not affect overall fetal brain growth. However, serotonin tissue content in the fetal forebrain was increased in association with maternal stress; this increase was reversed by maternal CIT. In utero exposure to stress increased the numbers of deep-layer neurons in specific cortical regions, whereas CIT increased overall cell numbers without changing the proportions of layer-specific neurons to offset the effects of stress on deep-layer cortical development. These findings suggest that stress and SSRI exposure in utero differentially impact serotonin-dependent fetal neurodevelopment such that CIT reverses key effects of maternal gestational stress on offspring brain development.
Project description:Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are both effective treatments for some patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), yet little is known about the neurochemical changes related to these treatment modalities. Here, we used positron emission tomography and the ?-[11C]methyl-L-tryptophan tracer to examine the changes in brain regional serotonin synthesis capacity in OCD patients following treatment with CBT or SSRI treatment. Sixteen medication-free OCD patients were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of either CBT or sertraline treatment. Pre-to-post treatment changes in the ?-[11C]methyl-L-tryptophan brain trapping constant, K* (ml/g/min), were assessed as a function of symptom response, and correlations with symptom improvement were examined. Responders/partial responders to treatment did not show significant changes in relative regional tracer uptake; rather, in responders/partial responders, 12 weeks of treatment led to serotonin synthesis capacity increases that were brain-wide. Irrespective of treatment modality, baseline serotonin synthesis capacity in the raphe nuclei correlated positively with clinical improvement. These observations suggest that, for some patients, successful remediation of OCD symptoms might be associated with greater serotonergic tone.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with affective and cognitive symptoms causing personal distress and reduced global functioning. These have considerable societal costs due to healthcare service utilization. OBJECTIVE:Our aim was to assess the efficacy of pharmacological interventions in OCD and clinical guidelines, providing a comprehensive overview of this field. METHODS:We searched the PubMed database for papers dealing with drug treatment of OCD, with a specific focus on clinical guidelines, treatments with antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, off-label medications, and pharmacogenomics. RESULTS:Prolonged administration of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is most effective. Better results can be obtained with a SSRI combined with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or the similarly oriented exposure and response prevention (ERP). Refractory OCD could be treated with different strategies, including a switch to another SSRI or clomipramine, or augmentation with an atypical antipsychotic. The addition of medications other than antipsychotics or intravenous antidepressant administration needs further investigation, as the evidence is inconsistent. Pharmacogenomics and personalization of therapy could reduce treatment resistance. CONCLUSIONS:SSRI/clomipramine in combination with CBT/ERP is associated with the optimal response compared to each treatment alone or to other treatments. New strategies for refractory OCD are needed. The role of pharmacogenomics could become preponderant in the coming years.