Therapeutic antidepressant potential of a conjugated siRNA silencing the serotonin transporter after intranasal administration.
ABSTRACT: Major depression brings about a heavy socio-economic burden worldwide due to its high prevalence and the low efficacy of antidepressant drugs, mostly inhibiting the serotonin transporter (SERT). As a result, ~80% of patients show recurrent or chronic depression, resulting in a poor quality of life and increased suicide risk. RNA interference (RNAi) strategies have been preliminarily used to evoke antidepressant-like responses in experimental animals. However, the main limitation for the medical use of RNAi is the extreme difficulty to deliver oligonucleotides to selected neurons/systems in the mammalian brain. Here we show that the intranasal administration of a sertraline-conjugated small interfering RNA (C-SERT-siRNA) silenced SERT expression/function and evoked fast antidepressant-like responses in mice. After crossing the permeable olfactory epithelium, the sertraline-conjugated-siRNA was internalized and transported to serotonin cell bodies by deep Rab-7-associated endomembrane vesicles. Seven-day C-SERT-siRNA evoked similar or more marked responses than 28-day fluoxetine treatment. Hence, C-SERT-siRNA (i) downregulated 5-HT1A-autoreceptors and facilitated forebrain serotonin neurotransmission, (ii) accelerated the proliferation of neuronal precursors and (iii) increased hippocampal complexity and plasticity. Further, short-term C-SERT-siRNA reversed depressive-like behaviors in corticosterone-treated mice. The present results show the feasibility of evoking antidepressant-like responses by selectively targeting neuronal populations with appropriate siRNA strategies, opening a way for further translational studies.
Project description:Current antidepressants, which inhibit the serotonin transporter (SERT), display limited efficacy and slow onset of action. Here, we show that partial reduction of SERT expression by small interference RNA (SERT-siRNA) decreased immobility in the tail suspension test, displaying an antidepressant potential. Moreover, short-term SERT-siRNA treatment modified mouse brain variables considered to be key markers of antidepressant action: reduced expression and function of 5-HT(1A)-autoreceptors, elevated extracellular serotonin in forebrain and increased neurogenesis and expression of plasticity-related genes (BDNF, VEGF, Arc) in hippocampus. Remarkably, these effects occurred much earlier and were of greater magnitude than those evoked by long-term fluoxetine treatment. These findings highlight the critical role of SERT in serotonergic function and show that the reduction of SERT expression regulates serotonergic neurotransmission more potently than pharmacological blockade of SERT. The use of siRNA-targeting genes in serotonin neurons (SERT, 5-HT(1A)-autoreceptor) may be a novel therapeutic strategy to develop fast-acting antidepressants.
Project description:Sertraline and fluoxetine are selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that are widely prescribed to treat depression. They exert their effects by inhibiting the presynaptic plasma membrane serotonin transporter (SERT). All SSRIs possess halogen atoms at specific positions, which are key determinants for the drugs' specificity for SERT. For the SERT protein, however, the structural basis of its specificity for SSRIs is poorly understood. Here we report the crystal structures of LeuT, a bacterial SERT homolog, in complex with sertraline, R-fluoxetine or S-fluoxetine. The SSRI halogens all bind to exactly the same pocket within LeuT. Mutation at this halogen-binding pocket (HBP) in SERT markedly reduces the transporter's affinity for SSRIs but not for tricyclic antidepressants. Conversely, when the only nonconserved HBP residue in both norepinephrine and dopamine transporters is mutated into that found in SERT, their affinities for all the three SSRIs increase uniformly. Thus, the specificity of SERT for SSRIs is dependent largely on interaction of the drug halogens with the protein's HBP.
Project description:The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) controls the stability of most cellular proteins. The polymorphism of UPS-related genes is associated with major depression disorder, but less is known about the molecule that plays a role in depression by modulating the UPS. Melanoma antigen gene-D1 (MAGE-D1) interacts with RING E3 ubiquitin ligase and is implicated in protein degradation. MAGE-D1 may thus play an important role in the CNS via ubiquitylation. Here, we clarified a novel role of MAGE-D1 in emotional functions, namely its modulation of ubiquitylation to the serotonin transporter (SERT). The MAGE-D1 knock-out and knockdown by small interfering RNA (siRNA) in the prefrontal cortex showed depression-like behavior, such as a decrease in exploratory behavior in both the home cage and novel apparatus, a decrease in social interaction, increased immobility time during forced swimming and tail suspension, and a decrease in sucrose preference without any anxiety, or cognitive or motor dysfunction. Acute and chronic (28 d) administration of sertraline (10 mg/kg) and imipramine (20 mg/kg) reversed all or part of depression-like behavior in knock-out mice. In these mice, the serotonergic function in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus was hypoactive, accompanied by hyperexpression of SERT attributable to a decrease in ubiquitylation. Furthermore, MAGE-D1 binds to SERT via the necdin homology domain. MAGE-D1 overexpression in cells resulted in a decrease in serotonin uptake activity and the protein level of SERT but an increase in ubiquitylated SERT. Together, the present findings suggest a novel role for MAGE-D1 in depressive behaviors: modulating SERT ubiquitylation.
Project description:Alterations in circadian rhythm generation may be related to the development of mood disorders. Although it has been reported that the most popular antidepressant, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) affect circadian phase, no data are available that describe the effects of SSRIs on other circadian parameters (period, amplitude and damping rate) in dissociated cells. In the present study we used real-time monitoring of bioluminescence in rat-1 fibroblasts expressing the Period1-luciferase transgene, and that in Period1-luciferase transgenic mouse suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) explants, in order to characterize the effects of SSRI on circadian oscillator function in vitro. We found that mRNA of the serotonin transporter (SERT), a target of SSRIs, was expressed in rat-1 fibroblasts. Sertraline, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, citalopram and paroxetine all significantly shortened the period of Period1-bioluminescence rhythms in rat-1 fibroblasts. The amplitude was reduced by sertraline, and the damping rate was decreased by sertraline, fluoxetine, flvoxamine and paroxetine. The effect of sertraline was dose-dependent, and it also shortened the circadian period in the SCN. SERT is associated with lipid microdomains, which are required for efficient SERT activity. Indeed, cholesterol chelating reagent methyl-beta-cyclodextrin significantly reduced the period and the amplitude in rat-1 fibroblasts. Furthermore, lipid binding reagent xylazine significantly reduced the period. In summary our data present evidence that SSRIs affect circadian rhythmicity. The action of SSRIs is likely mediated by suppression of SERT activity. A better understanding of the relationship between mental illness and biological timing may yield new insight into disease etiology and avenues for treatment.
Project description:Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) represent a class of pharmaceuticals previously reported in aquatic ecosystems. SSRIs are designed to treat depression and other disorders in humans, but are recognized to elicit a variety of effects on aquatic organisms, ranging from neuroendocrine disruption to behavioral perturbations. However, an understanding of the relationships among mechanistic responses associated with SSRI targets and ecologically important behavioral responses of fish remains elusive. Herein, linking Adverse Outcomes Pathways (AOP) models with internal dosimetry represent potential approaches for developing an understanding of pharmaceutical risks to aquatic life. We selected sertraline as a model SSRI for a 28-d study with adult male fathead minnows. Binding activity of the serotonin reuptake transporter (SERT), previously demonstrated in mammals and fish models to respond to sertraline exposure, was selected as an endpoint associated with therapeutic activity. Shelter-seeking behavior was monitored using digital tracking software to diagnose behavioral abnormalities. Fish plasma levels of sertraline exceeding human therapeutic doses were accurately modeled from external exposure concentrations when pH influences on ionization and log D were considered. We observed statistically significant decreases in binding at the therapeutic target (SERT) and shelter-seeking behavior when fish plasma levels exceeded human therapeutic thresholds. Such observations highlights the strengths of coupling physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling and AOP approaches and suggest that internal dosimetry should be monitored to advance an understanding of the ecological consequences of SSRI exposure to aquatic vertebrates.
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 t1/2 and an increase in [5-HT]max in the SNpr. Local application of SSRI to the DRN recapitulates the increase in [5-HT]max observed in the SNpr without affecting uptake. Thus, SSRIs increase serotonin signaling via two distinct SERT-mediated mechanisms.
Project description:Many lines of evidence suggest the role of serotonin transporter (SERT)-mediated reuptake of serotonin in the pathophysiology and treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). This study aimed to examine whether the pretreatment of SERT binding potential or SERT binding ratio between terminal projection regions relative to the midbrain raphe nuclei was associated with treatment outcomes to SERT-targeted antidepressants.We recruited 39 antidepressant-naïve patients with MDD and 39 heathy controls. Positron emission tomography with N,N-dimethyl-2-(2-amino-4-[(18)F]fluorophenylthio)benzylamine (4-[(18)F]-ADAM) was used to measure in vivo SERT availability prior to antidepressant treatment. The 21-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) was use to assess the severity of depression from baseline to week 6. All the patients with MDD had HDRS scores of 18 or more.Pretreatment SERT binding in the thalamus and striatum positively correlated with an early reduction in HDRS scores at week 3. Nonresponders and dropout patients showed a proportionate reduction in SERT binding in the terminal projection regions and midbrain compared to healthy controls. In contrast, a disproportionate reduction in SERT binding in the terminal projection regions relative to midbrain was observed in responders.The results of this study suggested that a disproportionate reduction in SERT binding between terminal projection regions and midbrain may predict better treatment outcomes in patients with MDD.
Project description:Medications to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) are not equally effective across patients. Given that neural response to rewards is altered in MDD and given that reward-related circuitry is modulated by dopamine and serotonin, we examined, for the first time, whether reward-related neural activity moderated response to sertraline, an antidepressant medication that targets these neurotransmitters. A total of 222 unmedicated adults with MDD randomized to receive sertraline (n?=?110) or placebo (n?=?112) in the Establishing Moderators and Biosignatures of Antidepressant Response in Clinical Care (EMBARC) study completed demographic and clinical assessments, and pretreatment functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing a reward task. We tested whether an index of reward system function in the ventral striatum (VS), a key reward circuitry region, moderated differential response to sertraline versus placebo, assessed with the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HSRD) over 8 weeks. We observed a significant moderation effect of the reward index, reflecting the temporal dynamics of VS activity, on week-8 depression levels (Fs???9.67, ps???0.002). Specifically, VS responses that were abnormal with respect to predictions from reinforcement learning theory were associated with lower week-8 depression symptoms in the sertraline versus placebo arms. Thus, a more abnormal pattern of pretreatment VS dynamic response to reward expectancy (expected outcome value) and prediction error (difference between expected and actual outcome), likely reflecting serotonergic and dopaminergic deficits, was associated with better response to sertraline than placebo. Pretreatment measures of reward-related VS activity may serve as objective neural markers to advance efforts to personalize interventions by guiding individual-level choice of antidepressant treatment.
Project description:Antidepressants that block the serotonin transporter, (Slc6a4/SERT), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) improve mood in adults but have paradoxical long-term effects when administered during perinatal periods, increasing the risk to develop anxiety and depression. The basis for this developmental effect is not known. Here, we show that during an early postnatal period in mice (P0-P10), Slc6a4/SERT is transiently expressed in a subset of layer 5-6 pyramidal neurons of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). PFC-SERT+ neurons establish glutamatergic synapses with subcortical targets, including the serotonin (5-HT) and GABA neurons of the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN). PFC-to-DRN circuits develop postnatally, coinciding with the period of PFC Slc6a4/SERT expression. Complete or cortex-specific ablation of SERT increases the number of functional PFC glutamate synapses on both 5-HT and GABA neurons in the DRN. This PFC-to-DRN hyperinnervation is replicated by early-life exposure to the SSRI, fluoxetine (from P2 to P14), that also causes anxiety/depressive-like symptoms. We show that pharmacogenetic manipulation of PFC-SERT+ neuron activity bidirectionally modulates these symptoms, suggesting that PFC hypofunctionality has a causal role in these altered responses to stress. Overall, our data identify specific PFC descending circuits that are targets of antidepressant drugs during development. We demonstrate that developmental expression of SERT in this subset of PFC neurons controls synaptic maturation of PFC-to-DRN circuits, and that remodeling of these circuits in early life modulates behavioral responses to stress in adulthood.
Project description:Depression and antidepressant use are common in Alzheimer disease (AD), but the effect of antidepressant treatment for depression on longer term outcomes is unknown. The authors report the Week-24 outcomes of patients who participated in a 12-week efficacy study of sertraline for depression of AD.One hundred thirty-one participants (sertraline = 67, placebo = 64) with mild-moderate AD and depression participated in the study. Patients who showed improvement on the modified Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study Clinical Global Impression-Change (mADCS-CGIC) after 12 weeks of randomized treatment with sertraline or placebo continued double-blinded treatment for an additional 12 weeks. Depression response and remission at 24 weeks were based on mADCS-CGIC score and change in Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia (CSDD) score. Secondary outcome measures included time to remission, nonmood neuropsychiatric symptoms, global cognition, function, and quality of life.One hundred seventeen (89.3%) participants completed all study assessments and 74 (56.5%; sertraline = 38, placebo = 36) completed all 24 weeks on randomized treatment. By 24 weeks, there were no between-group differences in depression response (sertraline = 44.8%, placebo = 35.9%; odds ratio [95% CI] = 1.23 [0.64-2.35]), change in CSDD score (median difference = 0.6 [95% CI: -2.26 to 3.46], chi2 [df = 2] = 1.03), remission rates (sertraline = 32.8%, placebo = 21.8%; odds ratio [95% CI] = 1.61 [0.70-3.68]), or secondary outcomes. Common selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor-associated adverse events, specifically diarrhea, dizziness, and dry mouth, and pulmonary serious adverse events were more frequent in sertraline-randomized patients than in placebo subjects.Sertraline treatment is not associated with delayed improvement between 12 and 24 weeks of treatment and may not be indicated for the treatment of depression of AD.