ProBDNF Signaling Regulates Depression-Like Behaviors in Rodents under Chronic Stress.
ABSTRACT: Chronic exposure to stressful environment is a key risk factor contributing to the development of depression. However, the mechanisms involved in this process are still unclear. Brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) has long been investigated for its positive role in regulation of mood, although the role of its precursor, proBDNF, in regulation of mood is not known. In this study, using an unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS) paradigm we found that the protein levels of proBDNF were increased in the neocortex and hippocampus of stressed mice and this UCMS-induced upregulation of proBDNF was abolished by chronic administration of fluoxetine. We then established a rat model of UCMS and found that the expression of proBDNF/p75NTR/sortilin was upregulated, whereas the expression of mature BDNF and TrkB was downregulated in both neocortex and hippocampus of chronically stressed rats. Finally, we found that the injection of anti-proBDNF antibody via intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) and intraperitoneal (i.p.) approaches into the UCMS rats significantly reversed the stress-induced depression-like behavior and restored the exploratory activity and spine growth. Although intramuscular injection of AAV-proBDNF did not exacerbate the UCMS-elicited rat mood-related behavioral or pathological abnormalities, i.c.v. injection of AAV-proBDNF increased the depression-like behavior in naive rats. Our findings suggest that proBDNF plays a role in the development of chronic stress-induced mood disturbances in rodents. Central (i.c.v.) or peripheral (i.p.) inhibition of proBDNF by injecting specific anti-proBDNF antibodies may provide a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of stress-related mood disorders.
Project description:Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Recent observations have revealed an association between mood disorders and alterations of the intestinal microbiota. Here, using unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS) as a mouse model of depression, we show that UCMS mice display phenotypic alterations, which could be transferred from UCMS donors to naïve recipient mice by fecal microbiota transplantation. The cellular and behavioral alterations observed in recipient mice were accompanied by a decrease in the endocannabinoid (eCB) signaling due to lower peripheral levels of fatty acid precursors of eCB ligands. The adverse effects of UCMS-transferred microbiota were alleviated by selectively enhancing the central eCB or by complementation with a strain of the Lactobacilli genus. Our findings provide a mechanistic scenario for how chronic stress, diet and gut microbiota generate a pathological feed-forward loop that contributes to despair behavior via the central eCB system.
Project description:Gene microarrays may enable the elucidation of neurobiological changes underlying the pathophysiology and treatment of major depression. However, previous studies of antidepressant treatments were performed in healthy normal rather than 'depressed' animals. Since antidepressants are devoid of mood-changing effects in normal individuals, the clinically relevant rodent transcriptional changes could remain undetected. We investigated antidepressant-related transcriptome changes in a corticolimbic network of mood regulation in the context of the unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS), a naturalistic model of depression based on socio-environmental stressors. Mice subjected to a 7-week UCMS displayed a progressive coat state deterioration, reduced weight gain, and increased agonistic and emotion-related behaviors. Chronic administration of an effective (fluoxetine) or putative antidepressant (corticotropin-releasing factor-1 (CRF1) antagonist, SSR125543) reversed all physical and behavioral effects. Changes in gene expression differed among cingulate cortex (CC), amygdala (AMY) and dentate gyrus (DG) and were extensively reversed by both drugs in CC and AMY, and to a lesser extent in DG. Fluoxetine and SSR125543 also induced additional and very similar molecular profiles in UCMS-treated mice, but the effects of the same drug differed considerably between control and UCMS states. These studies established on a large-scale that the molecular impacts of antidepressants are region-specific and state-dependent, revealed common transcriptional changes downstream from different antidepressant treatments and supported CRF1 targeting as an effective therapeutic strategy. Correlations between UCMS, drug treatments, and gene expression suggest distinct AMY neuronal and oligodendrocyte molecular phenotypes as candidate systems for mood regulation and therapeutic interventions.
Project description:Depression and anxiety are two affective disorders that greatly threaten the mental health of a large population worldwide. Previous studies have shown that brain-derived neurotrophic factor precursor (proBDNF) is involved in the development of depression. However, it is still elusive whether proBDNF is involved in anxiety, and if so, which brain regions of proBDNF regulate these two affective disorders. The present study aims to investigate the role of proBDNF in the hippocampus in the development of depression and anxiety. Rat models of an anxiety-like phenotype and depression-like phenotype were established by complete Freund's adjuvant intra-plantar injection and chronic restraint stress, respectively. Both rat models developed anxiety-like behaviors as determined by the open field test and elevated plus maze test. However, only rats with depression-like phenotype displayed the lower sucrose consumption in the sucrose preference test and a longer immobility time in the forced swimming test. Sholl analysis showed that the dendritic arborization of granule cells in the hippocampus was decreased in rats with depression-like phenotype but was not changed in rats with anxiety-like phenotype. In addition, synaptophysin was downregulated in the rats with depression-like phenotype but upregulated in the rats with anxiety-like phenotype. In both models, proBDNF was greatly increased in the hippocampus. Intra-hippocampal injection anti-proBDNF antibody greatly ameliorated the anxiety-like and depressive behaviors in the rats. These findings suggest that despite some behavioral and morphological differences between depression and anxiety, hippocampal proBDNF is a common mediator to regulate these two mental disorders.
Project description:Emerging evidence implicates circadian abnormalities as a component of the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus coordinates rhythms throughout the brain and body. On a cellular level, rhythms are generated by transcriptional, translational, and posttranslational feedback loops of core circadian genes and proteins. In patients with MDD, recent evidence suggests reduced amplitude of molecular rhythms in extra-SCN brain regions. We investigated whether unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS), an animal model that induces a depression-like physiological and behavioral phenotype, induces circadian disruptions similar to those seen with MDD.Activity and temperature rhythms were recorded in C57BL/6J mice before, during, and after exposure to UCMS, and brain tissue explants were collected from Period2 luciferase mice following UCMS to assess cellular rhythmicity.UCMS significantly decreased circadian amplitude of activity and body temperature in mice, similar to findings in MDD patients, and these changes directly correlated with depression-related behavior. While amplitude of molecular rhythms in the SCN was decreased following UCMS, surprisingly, rhythms in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) were amplified with no changes seen in the prefrontal cortex or amygdala. These molecular rhythm changes in the SCN and the NAc also directly correlated with mood-related behavior.These studies found that circadian rhythm abnormalities directly correlate with depression-related behavior following UCMS and suggest a desynchronization of rhythms in the brain with an independent enhancement of rhythms in the NAc.
Project description:Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a debilitating disorder of altered mood regulation. Despite well established sex differences in MDD prevalence, the mechanism underlying the increased female vulnerability remains unknown. Although evidence suggests an influence of adult circulating hormone levels on mood (i.e. activational effects of hormones), MDD prevalence is consistently higher in women across life stages (and therefore hormonal states), suggesting that additional underlying structural or biological differences place women at higher risk. Studies in human subjects and in rodent models suggest a developmental origin for mood disorders, and interestingly, a developmental process also establishes sex differences in the brain. Hence, based on these parallel developmental trajectories, we hypothesized that a proportion of the female higher vulnerability to MDD may originate from the differential organization of mood regulatory neural networks early in life (i.e. organizational effects of hormones). To test this hypothesis in a rodent system, we took advantage of a well-established technique used in the field of sexual differentiation (neonatal injection with testosterone) to masculinize sexually dimorphic brain regions in female mice. We then investigated adult behavioral consequences relating to emotionality by comparing neonatal testosterone-treated females to normal males and females. Under baseline/trait conditions, neonatal testosterone treatment of female mice did not influence adult emotionality, but masculinized adult locomotor activity, as revealed by the activational actions of hormones. Conversely, the increased vulnerability of female mice to develop high emotionality following unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS) was partially masculinized by neonatal testosterone exposure, with no effect on post-UCMS locomotion. The elevated female UCMS-induced vulnerability did not differ between adult hormone treated groups. These results demonstrate that sex differences in adult emotionality in mice are partially caused by the organizational effects of sex hormones during development, hence supporting a developmental hypothesis of the human adult female prevalence of MDD.
Project description:Parallel clinical and preclinical research have begun to illuminate the biological basis of stress-related disorders, including major depression, but translational bridges informing discrete mechanistic targets for intervention are missing. To address this critical need, we used structural MRI in a mouse model and in a large human sample to examine stress effects on brain structure that may be conserved across species. Specifically, we focused on a previously unexplored approach, whole-brain structural covariance, as it reflects synchronized changes in neuroanatomy, potentially due to mutual trophic influences or shared plasticity across regions. Using the unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS) paradigm in mouse we first demonstrate that UCMS-induced elevated behavioral emotionality correlates with increased size of the amygdala and other corticolimbic regions. We further identify focal increases in the amygdala's 'hubness' (degree and strength) set against the background of a global stress-related loss of network clustering and modularity. These macroscopic changes are supported on the molecular level by increased postsynaptic density-95 protein in the amygdala, consistent with stress-induced plastic changes and synaptic strengthening. Finally, we provide clinical evidence that strikingly similar structural network reorganization patterns exist in young adults reporting high childhood trauma and increased mood symptoms. Collectively, we provide initial translational evidence for a conserved stress-related increase in amygdala-centered structural synchrony, as measured by enhanced structural covariance, which is paralleled by a decrease in global structural synchrony. This putative trade-off reflected in increased amygdala-centered plastic changes at the expense of global structural dedifferentiation may represent a mechanistic pathway for depression and related psychopathology.
Project description:<p>Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Recent observations have revealed an association between mood disorders and alterations of the intestinal microbiota, but causality remains yet to be established. Here, using unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS) as a mouse model of depression, we show that UCMS mice display phenotypic alterations which could be transferred from UCMS donors to naïve recipient mice by fecal microbiota transplantation. The cellular and behavioral alterations observed in recipient mice were accompanied by a decrease in the endocannabinoid (eCB) signaling due to lower peripheral levels of fatty acid precursors of eCB ligands. The adverse effects of UCMS-transferred microbiota were alleviated by selectively enhancing the central eCB or by complementation with a strain of the Lactobacilli genus. Our findings provide a mechanistic scenario for how chronic stress, diet and gut microbiota generate a pathological feed-forward loop that contributes to despair behavior via the central eCB system.</p>
Project description:Depression is a debilitating mental illness and is often comorbid with metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes. Adiponectin is an adipocyte-derived hormone with antidiabetic and insulin-sensitizing properties. Here we show that adiponectin levels in plasma are reduced in a chronic social-defeat stress model of depression, which correlates with decreased social interaction time. A reduction in adiponectin levels caused by haploinsufficiency results in increased susceptibility to social aversion, "anhedonia," and learned helplessness and causes impaired glucocorticoid-mediated negative feedback on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injection of an adiponectin neutralizing antibody precipitates stress-induced depressive-like behavior. Conversely, i.c.v. administration of exogenous adiponectin produces antidepressant-like behavioral effects in normal-weight mice and in diet-induced obese diabetic mice. Taken together, these results suggest a critical role of adiponectin in depressive-like behaviors and point to a potential innovative therapeutic approach for depressive disorders.
Project description:Both inflammatory processes and glutamatergic systems have been implicated in the pathophysiology of mood-related disorders. However, the role of caspase-1, a classic inflammatory caspase, in behavioral responses to chronic stress remains largely unknown. To address this issue, we examined the effects and underlying mechanisms of caspase-1 on preclinical murine models of depression. We found that loss of caspase-1 expression in Caspase-1-/- knockout mice alleviated chronic stress-induced depression-like behaviors, whereas overexpression of caspase-1 in the hippocampus of wild-type (WT) mice was sufficient to induce depression- and anxiety-like behaviors. Furthermore, chronic stress reduced glutamatergic neurotransmission and decreased surface expression of glutamate receptors in hippocampal pyramidal neurons of WT mice, but not Caspase-1-/- mice. Importantly, pharmacological inhibition of caspase-1-interleukin-1? (IL-1?) signaling pathway prevented the depression-like behaviors and the decrease in surface expression of ?-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptors (AMPARs) in stressed WT mice. Finally, the effects of chronic stress on both depression- and anxiety-like behaviors can be mimicked by exogenous intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) administration of IL-1? in both WT and Caspase-1-/- mice. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that an increase in the caspase-1/IL-1? axis facilitates AMPAR internalization in the hippocampus, which dysregulates glutamatergic synaptic transmission, eventually resulting in depression-like behaviors. These results may represent an endophenotype for chronic stress-induced depression.
Project description:Major depression is a highly prevalent, multidimensional disorder. Although several classes of antidepressants (ADs) are currently available, treatment efficacy is limited, and relapse rates are high; thus, there is a need to find better therapeutic strategies. Neuroplastic changes in brain regions such as the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) accompany depression and its amelioration with ADs. In this study, the unpredictable chronic mild stress (uCMS) rat model of depression was used to determine the molecular mediators of chronic stress and the targets of four ADs with different pharmacological profiles (fluoxetine, imipramine, tianeptine, and agomelatine) in the hippocampal DG. All ADs, except agomelatine, reversed the depression-like behavior and neuroplastic changes produced by uCMS. Chronic stress induced significant molecular changes that were generally reversed by fluoxetine, imipramine, and tianeptine. Fluoxetine primarily acted on neurons to reduce the expression of pro-inflammatory response genes and increased a set of genes involved in cell metabolism. Similarities were found between the molecular actions and targets of imipramine and tianeptine that activated pathways related to cellular protection. Agomelatine presented a unique profile, with pronounced effects on genes related to Rho-GTPase-related pathways in oligodendrocytes and neurons. These differential molecular signatures of ADs studied contribute to our understanding of the processes implicated in the onset and treatment of depression-like symptoms.