Fluoxetine effects on molecular, cellular and behavioral endophenotypes of depression are driven by the living environment.
ABSTRACT: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) represent the most common treatment for major depression. However, their efficacy is variable and incomplete. In order to elucidate the cause of such incomplete efficacy, we explored the hypothesis positing that SSRIs may not affect mood per se but, by enhancing neural plasticity, render the individual more susceptible to the influence of the environment. Consequently, SSRI administration in a favorable environment promotes a reduction of symptoms, whereas in a stressful environment leads to a worse prognosis. To test such hypothesis, we exposed C57BL/6 mice to chronic stress in order to induce a depression-like phenotype and, subsequently, to fluoxetine treatment (21 days), while being exposed to either an enriched or a stressful condition. We measured the most commonly investigated molecular, cellular and behavioral endophenotypes of depression and SSRI outcome, including depression-like behavior, neurogenesis, brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity and long-term potentiation. Results showed that, in line with our hypothesis, the endophenotypes investigated were affected by the treatment according to the quality of the living environment. In particular, mice treated with fluoxetine in an enriched condition overall improved their depression-like phenotype compared with controls, whereas those treated in a stressful condition showed a distinct worsening. Our findings suggest that the effects of SSRI on the depression- like phenotype is not determined by the drug per se but is induced by the drug and driven by the environment. These findings may be helpful to explain variable effects of SSRI found in clinical practice and to device strategies aimed at enhancing their efficacy by means of controlling environmental conditions.
Project description:An increasing number of studies show that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) exert their therapeutic action, at least in part, by amplifying the influence of the living environment on mood. As a consequence, when administered in a favorable environment, SSRIs lead to a reduction of symptoms, but in stressful conditions, they show limited efficacy. Therefore, novel therapeutic approaches able to neutralize the influence of the stressful environment on treatment are needed. The aim of our study was to test whether, in a mouse model of depression, the combined administration of SSRI fluoxetine and metformin, a drug able to improve the metabolic profile, counteracts the limited efficacy of fluoxetine alone when administered in stressful conditions. Indeed, metabolic alterations are associated to both the onset of major depression and the antidepressant efficacy. To this goal, adult C57BL/6 male mice were exposed to stress for 6 weeks; the first two weeks was aimed at generating a mouse model of depression. During the remaining 4 weeks, mice received one of the following treatments: vehicle, fluoxetine, metformin, or a combination of fluoxetine and metformin. We measured liking- and wanting-type anhedonia as behavioral phenotypes of depression and assessed the expression levels of selected genes involved in major depressive disorder and antidepressant response in the dorsal and ventral hippocampus, which are differently involved in the depressive symptomatology. The combined treatment was more effective than fluoxetine alone in ameliorating the depressive phenotype after one week of treatment. This was associated to an increase in IGF2 mRNA expression and enhanced long-term potentiation, specifically in the dorsal hippocampus, at the end of treatment. Overall, the present results show that, when administered in stressful conditions, the combined fluoxetine and metformin treatment may represent a more effective approach than fluoxetine alone in a short term. Finally, our findings highlight the relevance of polypharmacological strategy as effective interventions to increase the efficacy of the antidepressant drugs currently available.
Project description:Assessing the risks of long-term exposure to low doses of pharmaceuticals is an identified research need, particularly for those that may act as neural disruptors in non-vertebrate species. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) act by blocking the re-uptake of serotonin in the nerve synapses, increasing the effective concentration of serotonin in the intra-synaptic space and therefore stimulating serotoninergic neurons. This effect is used worldwide to treat clinical depression in humans, with the consequence of their widespread release into the environment. SSRIs have been found to alter the reproductive physiology of D. magna and other invertebrates in a biphasic way. Low levels of fluoxetine stimulated offspring production in Daphnia magna and Ceriodaphnia dubia at 36 and 50 µg/l, respectively, but higher exposure levels inhibited reproduction in the same species. In this study we explore the hypothesis that SSRI can affect D. magna juvenile developmental rates and offspring production disrupting serotonin activity that is known to regulate carbohydrate and oxidative metabolic pathways. The primary mode of action was tested using transcriptomic analyses of juveniles and adults exposed to SSRIs (fluoxetine 80 ppbs, fluovoxamine 30 ppbs) and serotonin-immunocytochemistry assays of D. magna brains. Reproduction, respirometry and biochemical measurements allowed to related gene and immunological base effects to phenotypic responses.
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:Addition of low doses of the atypical antipsychotic drug brexpiprazole with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) could promote antidepressant effect in patients with major depressive disorder although the precise mechanisms underlying the action of the combination are unknown. Combination of low dose of brexpiprazole (0.1 mg/kg) and SSRI fluoxetine (10 mg/kg) could promote a rapid antidepressant effect in social defeat stress model although brexpiprazole or fluoxetine alone did not show antidepressant effect. Furthermore, the combination significantly improved alterations in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) - TrkB signaling and dendritic spine density in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and nucleus accumbens in the susceptible mice after social defeat stress. Interestingly, TrkB antagonist ANA-12 significantly blocked beneficial effects of combination of brexpiprazole and fluoxetine on depression-like phenotype. These results suggest that BDNF-TrkB signaling plays a role in the rapid antidepressant action of the combination of brexpiprazole and fluoxetine.
Project description:Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) bind 5-HT transporters, leading to the accumulation of 5-HT and amelioration of depression. Although different mouse strains show varying sensitivity to SSRIs in mouse models of depression, the underlying mechanism of these strain differences remains unclear. Here, the SSRI citalopram dose-dependently reduced immobility time in both the FST and TST in DBA/2J mice but not C57BL/6J mice, whereas fluoxetine showed the opposite results. Paroxetine similarly reduced immobility time in both strains. The affinity of citalopram for the 5-HT transporter was 700-fold higher in DBA/2J mice than in C57BL/6J mice, whereas the affinity of fluoxetine was 100-fold higher in C57BL/6J mice than in DBA/2J mice. Furthermore, high citalopram concentrations were required for [3H]5-HT uptake in C57BL/6J but not in DBA/2J mouse cortical synaptosomes, whereas fluoxetine showed the opposite results. The effects of paroxetine on 5-HT transporter binding and synaptosomal 5-HT uptake were similar in the two strains. These results suggest that immobility duration depends on 5-HT transporter binding levels, which lead to apparent strain differences in immobility time in the FST and TST. Furthermore, differences in 5-HT transporter binding may cause variations in SSRI effects on behaviors.
Project description:Up to 10% of women use selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants during pregnancy and postpartum. Recent evidence suggests that SSRIs are capable of altering the gut microbiota. However, the interaction between maternal depression and SSRI use on bacterial community composition and the availability of microbiota-derived metabolites during pregnancy and lactation is not clear. We studied this using a rat model relevant to depression, where adult females with a genetic vulnerability and stressed as pups show depressive-like behaviors. Throughout pregnancy and lactation, females received the SSRI fluoxetine or vehicle. High-resolution 16S ribosomal RNA marker gene sequencing and targeted metabolomic analysis were used to assess the fecal microbiome and metabolite availability, respectively. Not surprisingly, we found that pregnancy and lactation segregate in terms of fecal microbiome diversity and composition, accompanied by changes in metabolite availability. However, we also showed that fluoxetine treatment altered important features of this transition from pregnancy to lactation most clearly in previously stressed dams, with lower fecal amino acid concentrations. Amino acid concentrations, in turn, correlated negatively with the relative abundance of bacterial taxa such as Prevotella and Bacteroides. Our study demonstrates an important relationship between antidepressant use during the perinatal period and maternal fecal metabolite availability in a rat model relevant to depression, possibly through parallel changes in the gut microbiome. Since microbial metabolites contribute to homeostasis and development, insults to the maternal microbiome by SSRIs might have health consequences for mother and offspring.
Project description:Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs in pregnant women. Given that SSRIs can cross the placental and blood-brain barriers, these drugs potentially affect serotonergic neurotransmission and neurodevelopment in the fetus. Although no gross SSRI-related teratogenic effect has been reported, infants born following prenatal exposure to SSRIs have a higher risk for various behavioral abnormalities. Therefore, we examined the effects of prenatal fluoxetine, the most commonly prescribed SSRI, on social and cognitive behavior in mice. Intriguingly, chronic in utero fluoxetine treatment impaired working memory and social novelty recognition in adult males with augmented spontaneous inhibitory synaptic transmission onto the layer 5 pyramidal neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Moreover, fast-spiking interneurons in the layer 5 mPFC exhibited enhanced basal intrinsic excitability, augmented serotonin-induced neuronal excitability, and increased inhibitory synaptic transmission onto the layer 5 pyramidal neurons due to augmented 5-HT2A receptor (5-HT2AR) signaling. More importantly, the observed behavioral deficits of in utero fluoxetine-treated mice could be reversed by acute systemic application of 5-HT2AR antagonist. Taken together, our findings support the notion that alterations in serotonin-mediated inhibitory neuronal modulation result in reduced cortical network activities and cognitive impairment following prenatal exposure to SSRIs. Overall design: We examined biological duplicate samples for each group.
Project description:Disturbances of circadian rhythms are a key symptom of mood and anxiety disorders. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) - commonly used antidepressant drugs - also modulate aspects of circadian rhythmicity. However, their potential to restore circadian disturbances in depression remains to be investigated.The effects of the SSRI fluoxetine on genetically based, depression-related circadian disruptions at the behavioral and molecular level were examined using mice selectively bred for high anxiety-related and co-segregating depression-like behavior (HAB) and normal anxiety/depression behavior mice (NAB).The length of the circadian period was increased in fluoxetine-treated HAB as compared to NAB mice while the number of activity bouts and light-induced entrainment were comparable. No difference in hippocampal Cry2 expression, previously reported to be dysbalanced in untreated HAB mice, was observed, while Per2 and Per3 mRNA levels were higher in HAB mice under fluoxetine treatment.The present findings provide evidence that fluoxetine treatment normalizes disrupted circadian locomotor activity and clock gene expression in a genetic mouse model of high trait anxiety and depression. An interaction between the molecular mechanisms mediating the antidepressant response to fluoxetine and the endogenous regulation of circadian rhythms in genetically based mood and anxiety disorders is proposed.
Project description:Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a major class of antidepressants that act by blocking inward transport of serotonin (5-HT) into presynaptic neurons mediated by the serotonin transporter (SERT). Both reuptake and ongoing synthesis are essential in supporting intraneuronal serotonin concentrations in serotonergic neurons. A rare mutation in tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (Tph2), the rate limiting enzyme for 5-HT synthesis, was identified in several patients with major depression, and knock-in mice expressing the analogous mutation (R439H Tph2 KI) show 80% reduction in 5-HT synthesis and tissue levels. Chronic treatment with SSRIs (fluoxetine and paroxetine) resulted in a dramatic further depletion of 5-HT tissue levels in R439H Tph2 KI mice (down to 1-3% of wild type levels) while having little effects in wild-type controls. Treatment with the 5-HT precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) restored 5-HT tissue content in mutant mice, and cotreatment with 5-HTP and fluoxetine essentially prevented the depleting effect of a chronic SSRI. These data demonstrate that chronic SSRI treatment could further exacerbate the 5-HT deficiency in Tph2 mutation carriers, and this can be prevented by 5-HTP supplementation.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are amongst the most prescribed antidepressants for adolescents with depressive symptoms and major depressive disorder. However, SSRIs have significant shortcomings as a first-line treatment considering that not all patients respond to these antidepressants. Amongst paediatric populations, meta-analyses indicate that up to approximately 40% of patients do not respond, and for those who do show benefit, there is substantial heterogeneity in response onset. The neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) plays a role in the clinical effectiveness and mechanisms of action of SSRIs. However, the exact and complete mechanism of action and reasons for the low response rate to SSRIs in some adolescent populations remains unknown.<h4>Methods</h4>To examine SSRI response and the role of 5-HT, this study will employ a randomised double-blind within subject, repeated measures design, recruiting adolescent patients with major depressive disorder. Participants will be subjected to acute tryptophan depletion (ATD) and the balanced control condition on two separate study days within a first study phase (Phase A), and the order in which these conditions (ATD/balanced control condition) occur will be random. This phase will be followed by Phase B, where participants will receive open label pharmacological treatment as usual with the SSRI fluoxetine and followed-up over a 12-week period.<h4>Discussion</h4>ATD is a neurodietary method typically used to investigate the impact of lowered brain 5-HT synthesis on mood and behaviour. The major hypothesis of this study is that ATD will be negatively associated with mood and cognitive functioning, therefore reflecting individual serotonergic sensitivity and related depressive symptoms. Additionally, we expect the aforementioned effects of ATD administration on mood to predict clinical improvement with regard to overall depressive symptomatology 12 weeks into SSRI treatment.<h4>Trial registration</h4>Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) ACTRN12616001561471 . Registered on 11 November 2016.