Hippocampal bone morphogenetic protein signaling mediates behavioral effects of antidepressant treatment.
ABSTRACT: Many antidepressants stimulate adult hippocampal neurogenesis, but the mechanisms by which they increase neurogenesis and modulate behavior are incompletely understood. Here we show that hippocampal bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling is modulated by antidepressant treatment, and that the changes in BMP signaling mediate effects of antidepressant treatment on neural progenitor cell proliferation and behavior. Treatment with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine suppressed BMP signaling in the adult mouse hippocampus both by decreasing levels of BMP4 ligand and increasing production of the BMP inhibitor noggin. Increasing BMP signaling in the hippocampus via viral overexpression of BMP4 blocked the effects of fluoxetine on proliferation in the dentate gyrus and on depressive behavior. Conversely, inhibiting BMP signaling via viral overexpression of noggin in the hippocampus or infusion of noggin into the ventricles exerted antidepressant and anxiolytic activity along with an increase in hippocampal neurogenesis. Similarly, conditional genetic deletion of the type II BMP receptor in Ascl1-expressing cells promoted neurogenesis and reduced anxiety- and depression-like behaviors, suggesting that neural progenitor cells contribute to the effects of BMP signaling on affective behavior. These observations indicate that BMP signaling in the hippocampus regulates depressive behavior, and that decreasing BMP signaling may be required for the effects of some antidepressants. Thus BMP signaling is a new and powerful potential target for the treatment of depression.
Project description:Aging is associated with decreased neurogenesis in the hippocampus and diminished hippocampus-dependent cognitive functions. Expression of bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) increases with age by more than 10-fold in the mouse dentate gyrus while levels of the BMP inhibitor, noggin, decrease. This results in a profound 30-fold increase in phosphorylated-SMAD1/5/8, the effector of canonical BMP signaling. Just as observed in mice, a profound increase in expression of BMP4 is observed in the dentate gyrus of humans with no known cognitive abnormalities. Inhibition of BMP signaling either by overexpression of noggin or transgenic manipulation not only increases neurogenesis in aging mice, but remarkably, is associated with a rescue of cognitive deficits to levels comparable to young mice. Additive benefits are observed when combining inhibition of BMP signaling and environmental enrichment. These findings indicate that increased BMP signaling contributes significantly to impairments in neurogenesis and to cognitive decline associated with aging, and identify this pathway as a potential druggable target for reversing age-related changes in cognition.
Project description:New neurons are added to the adult hippocampus throughout life and contribute to cognitive functions, including learning and memory. It remains unclear whether ongoing neurogenesis arises from self-renewing neural stem cells (NSCs) or from multipotential progenitor cells that cannot self-renew in the hippocampus. This is primarily based on observations that neural precursors derived from the subventricular zone (SVZ) can be passaged long term, whereas hippocampal subgranular zone (SGZ) precursors are rapidly depleted by passaging. We demonstrate here that high levels of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling occur in hippocampal but not SVZ precursors in vitro, and blocking BMP signaling with Noggin is sufficient to foster hippocampal cell self-renewal, proliferation, and multipotentiality using single-cell clonal analysis. Moreover, NSC maintenance requires continual Noggin exposure, which implicates BMPs as crucial regulators of NSC aging. In vivo, Noggin is expressed in the adult dentate gyrus and limits BMP signaling in proliferative cells of the SGZ. Transgenic Noggin overexpression in the SGZ increases multiple precursor cell populations but proportionally increases the glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive cell population at the expense of other precursors, suggesting that Noggin acts on NSCs in vivo. To confirm this, we used a dual thymidine analog paradigm to repeatedly label slowly dividing cells over a long duration. We find that small populations of label-retaining cells exist in the SGZ and that Noggin overexpression increases their numbers. Thus, we propose that the adult hippocampus contains a population of NSCs, which can be expanded both in vitro and in vivo by blocking BMP signaling.
Project description:Exposure to chronic stress produces negative effects on mood and hippocampus-dependent memory formation. SIRT2 alteration has been reported in mood disorders; however, the role of SIRT2 in depression remains unclear. Therefore, we aimed to determine whether SIRT2 can restore stress-induced suppression of neurogenesis in a rat chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) model of depression. Sucrose preference test, home-cage locomotion, forced swim test, and elevated plus maze were used to determine the role of SIRT2 in CUS model. To further determine the hippocampal neurogenesis contributes to the role of SIRT in mediating the antidepressant-like behavior, rats were exposed to X-irradiation to disrupt the process of hippocampal neurogenesis. CUS decreased expression of the SIRT2 protein in the hippocampus. Treatment with the antidepressant fluoxetine reversed the CUS-induced SIRT2 change. Furthermore, inhibiting SIRT2 by tenovin-D3 resulted in depression-like behaviors and impaired hippocampal neurogenesis in rats. Conversely, overexpression of SIRT2 by the intra-hippocampal infusion of recombinant adenovirus vector expressing mouse SIRT2 reversed the CUS-induced depressive-like behaviors, and promoted neurogenesis. Disrupting neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus by X-irradiation abolished the antidepressant-like effect of Ad-SIRT2-GFP. These findings indicate that hippocampal SIRT2 is involved in the modulation of depressant-like behaviors, possibly by regulating neurogenesis.
Project description:Hippocampus-dependent cognitive and emotional function appears to be regionally dissociated along the dorsoventral (DV) axis of the hippocampus. Recent observations that adult hippocampal neurogenesis plays a critical role in both cognition and emotion raised an interesting question whether adult neurogenesis within specific subregions of the hippocampus contributes to these distinct functions. We examined the regional-specific and cell type-specific effects of fluoxetine, which requires adult hippocampal neurogenesis to function as an antidepressant, on the proliferation of hippocampal neural stem cells (NSCs). Fluoxetine specifically increased proliferation of NSCs located in the ventral region of the hippocampus while the mitotic index of NSCs in the dorsal portion of the hippocampus remained unaltered. Moreover, within the ventral hippocampus, type II NSC and neuroblast populations specifically responded to fluoxetine, showing increased proliferation; however, proliferation of type I NSCs was unchanged in response to fluoxetine. Activation or inhibition of serotonin receptor 1A (5-HTR1A) recapitulated or abolished the effect of fluoxetine on proliferation of type II NSCs and neuroblast populations in the ventral hippocampus. Our study showed that the effect of fluoxetine on proliferation is dependent upon the type and the position of the NSCs along the DV axis of the hippocampus.
Project description:Fluoxetine, a selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), is known to induce structural rearrangements and changes in synaptic transmission in hippocampal circuitry. In the adult hippocampus, structural changes include neurogenesis, dendritic, and axonal plasticity of pyramidal and dentate granule neurons, and dedifferentiation of dentate granule neurons. However, much less is known about how chronic fluoxetine affects these processes along the septotemporal axis and during the aging process. Importantly, studies documenting the effects of fluoxetine on density and distribution of spines along different dendritic segments of dentate granule neurons and CA1 pyramidal neurons along the septotemporal axis of hippocampus in adulthood and during aging are conspicuously absent. Here, we use a transgenic mouse line in which mature dentate granule neurons and CA1 pyramidal neurons are genetically labeled with green fluorescent protein (GFP) to investigate the effects of chronic fluoxetine treatment (18 mg/kg/day) on input-specific spine remodeling and mossy fiber structural plasticity in the dorsal and ventral hippocampus in adulthood and middle age. In addition, we examine levels of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, maturation state of dentate granule neurons, neuronal activity, and glutamic acid decarboxylase-67 expression in response to chronic fluoxetine in adulthood and middle age. Our studies reveal that while chronic fluoxetine fails to augment adult hippocampal neurogenesis in middle age, the middle-aged hippocampus retains high sensitivity to changes in the dentate gyrus (DG) such as dematuration, hypoactivation, and increased glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) expression. Interestingly, the middle-aged hippocampus shows greater sensitivity to fluoxetine-induced input-specific synaptic remodeling than the hippocampus in adulthood with the stratum-oriens of CA1 exhibiting heightened structural plasticity. The input-specific changes and circuit-level modifications in middle-age were associated with modest enhancement in contextual fear memory precision, anxiety-like behavior and antidepressant-like behavioral responses.
Project description:Recent research suggests an involvement of hippocampal neurogenesis in behavioral effects of antidepressants. However, the precise mechanisms through which newborn granule neurons might influence the antidepressant response remain elusive. Here, we demonstrate that unpredictable chronic mild stress in mice not only reduces hippocampal neurogenesis, but also dampens the relationship between hippocampus and the main stress hormone system, the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Moreover, this relationship is restored by treatment with the antidepressant fluoxetine, in a neurogenesis-dependent manner. Specifically, chronic stress severely impairs HPA axis activity, the ability of hippocampus to modulate downstream brain areas involved in the stress response, the sensitivity of the hippocampal granule cell network to novelty/glucocorticoid effects and the hippocampus-dependent negative feedback of the HPA axis. Remarkably, we revealed that, although ablation of hippocampal neurogenesis alone does not impair HPA axis activity, the ability of fluoxetine to restore hippocampal regulation of the HPA axis under chronic stress conditions, occurs only in the presence of an intact neurogenic niche. These findings provide a mechanistic framework for understanding how adult-generated new neurons influence the response to antidepressants. We suggest that newly generated neurons may facilitate stress integration and that, during chronic stress or depression, enhancing neurogenesis enables a dysfunctional hippocampus to restore the central control on stress response systems, then allowing recovery.
Project description:Understanding the physiopathology of affective disorders and their treatment relies on the availability of experimental models that accurately mimic aspects of the disease. Here we describe a mouse model of an anxiety/depressive-like state induced by chronic corticosterone treatment. Furthermore, chronic antidepressant treatment reversed the behavioral dysfunctions and the inhibition of hippocampal neurogenesis induced by corticosterone treatment. In corticosterone-treated mice where hippocampal neurogenesis is abolished by X-irradiation, the efficacy of fluoxetine is blocked in some, but not all, behavioral paradigms, suggesting both neurogenesis-dependent and -independent mechanisms of antidepressant action. Finally, we identified a number of candidate genes, the expression of which is decreased by chronic corticosterone and normalized by chronic fluoxetine treatment selectively in the hypothalamus. Importantly, mice deficient in one of these genes, beta-arrestin 2, displayed a reduced response to fluoxetine in multiple tasks, suggesting that beta-arrestin signaling is necessary for the antidepressant effects of fluoxetine.
Project description:Exposure to exercise or to environmental enrichment increases the generation of new neurons in the adult hippocampus and promotes certain kinds of learning and memory. While the precise role of neurogenesis in cognition has been debated intensely, comparatively few studies have addressed the mechanisms linking environmental exposures to cellular and behavioral outcomes. Here we show that bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling mediates the effects of exercise on neurogenesis and cognition in the adult hippocampus. Elective exercise reduces levels of hippocampal BMP signaling before and during its promotion of neurogenesis and learning. Transgenic mice with decreased BMP signaling or wild type mice infused with a BMP inhibitor both exhibit remarkable gains in hippocampal cognitive performance and neurogenesis, mirroring the effects of exercise. Conversely, transgenic mice with increased BMP signaling have diminished hippocampal neurogenesis and impaired cognition. Exercise exposure does not rescue these deficits, suggesting that reduced BMP signaling is required for environmental effects on neurogenesis and learning. Together, these observations show that BMP signaling is a fundamental mechanism linking environmental exposure with changes in cognitive function and cellular properties in the hippocampus.
Project description:The effects of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling on enteric neuron development were examined in transgenic mice overexpressing either the BMP inhibitor, noggin, or BMP4 under control of the neuron specific enolase (NSE) promoter. Noggin antagonism of BMP signaling increased total numbers of enteric neurons and those of subpopulations derived from precursors that exit the cell cycle early in neurogenesis (serotonin, calretinin, calbindin). In contrast, noggin overexpression decreased numbers of neurons derived from precursors that exit the cell cycle late (gamma-aminobutyric acid, tyrosine hydroxylase [TH], dopamine transporter, calcitonin gene-related peptide, TrkC). The numbers of TH- and TrkC-expressing neurons were increased by overexpression of BMP4. These observations are consistent with the idea that phenotypic expression in the enteric nervous system (ENS) is determined, in part, by the number of proliferative divisions neuronal precursors undergo before their terminal mitosis. BMP signaling may thus regulate enteric neuronal phenotypic diversity by promoting the exit of precursors from the cell cycle. BMP2 increased the numbers of TH- and TrkC-expressing neurons developing in vitro from immunoselected enteric crest-derived precursors; BMP signaling may thus also specify or promote the development of dopaminergic TrkC/NT-3-dependent neurons. The developmental defects in the ENS of noggin-overexpressing mice caused a relatively mild disturbance of motility (irregular rapid transit and increased stool frequency, weight, and water content). Although the function of the gut thus displays a remarkable tolerance for ENS defects, subtle functional abnormalities in motility or secretion may arise when ENS defects short of aganglionosis occur during development.
Project description:The therapeutic activity of selective serotonin (5-HT) reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) relies on long-term adaptation at pre- and post-synaptic levels. The sustained administration of SSRIs increases the serotonergic neurotransmission in response to a functional desensitization of the inhibitory 5-HT1A autoreceptor in the dorsal raphe. At nerve terminal such as the hippocampus, the enhancement of 5-HT availability increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) synthesis and signaling, a major event in the stimulation of adult neurogenesis. In physiological conditions, BDNF would be expressed at functionally relevant levels in neurons. However, the recent observation that SSRIs upregulate BDNF mRNA in primary cultures of astrocytes strongly suggest that the therapeutic activity of antidepressant drugs might result from an increase in BDNF synthesis in this cell type. In this study, by overexpressing BDNF in astrocytes, we balanced the ratio between astrocytic and neuronal BDNF raising the possibility that such manipulation could positively reverberate on anxiolytic-/antidepressant-like activities in transfected mice. Our results indicate that BDNF overexpression in hippocampal astrocytes produced anxiolytic-/antidepressant-like activity in the novelty suppressed feeding in relation with the stimulation of hippocampal neurogenesis whereas it did not potentiate the effects of the SSRI fluoxetine on these parameters. Moreover, overexpressing BDNF revealed the anxiolytic-like activity of fluoxetine in the elevated plus maze while attenuating 5-HT neurotransmission in response to a blunted downregulation of the 5-HT1A autoreceptor. These results emphasize an original role of hippocampal astrocytes in the synthesis of BDNF, which can act through neurogenesis-dependent and -independent mechanisms to regulate different facets of anxiolytic-like responses.