Chronic fluoxetine treatment in vivo enhances excitatory synaptic transmission in the hippocampus.
ABSTRACT: Depression is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as fluoxetine, are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medication. SSRIs produce their therapeutic effects by elevating extracellular concentrations of serotonin. Although this elevation occurs rapidly, there is a paradoxical delay of weeks-to-months of continuous treatment before most patients experience meaningful relief of their depressive symptoms. Here, we address the effects of chronic fluoxetine treatment and prolonged elevation of serotonin in the rat hippocampus. Previous work has shown that acute administration of fluoxetine rapidly potentiates the excitatory temporoammonic synapse onto CA1 pyramidal cells in the hippocampus via activation of serotonin 1B receptor in brain slices. In contrast to observations in brain slices, we report here that prolonged administration of fluoxetine was required to produce significant changes in temporoammonic-CA1 synaptic strength in ex vivo brain slices. Evidence of potentiation included increases in the ratio of AMPA receptor-to NMDA receptor-mediated temporoammonic-CA1 synaptic responses, occlusion of electrically evoked long-term potentiation, enhanced long-term depression, impaired anpirtoline-mediated potentiation, and impaired memory recall in the Morris water maze task. These synaptic and behavioral changes coincided with the alleviation of anhedonic behavioral state. We conclude that the effects of elevated serotonin accumulate slowly in vivo and may account for the delay to relief of depressive symptoms by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Acceleration of this process should lead to faster therapeutic responses to antidepressants.
Project description:The causes of major depression remain unknown. Antidepressants elevate concentrations of monoamines, particularly serotonin, but it remains uncertain which downstream events are critical to their therapeutic effects. We found that endogenous serotonin selectively potentiated excitatory synapses formed by the temporoammonic pathway with CA1 pyramidal cells via activation of serotonin receptors (5-HT(1B)Rs), without affecting nearby Schaffer collateral synapses. This potentiation was expressed postsynaptically by AMPA-type glutamate receptors and required calmodulin-dependent protein kinase-mediated phosphorylation of GluA1 subunits. Because they share common expression mechanisms, long-term potentiation and serotonin-induced potentiation occluded each other. Long-term consolidation of spatial learning, a function of temporoammonic-CA1 synapses, was enhanced by 5-HT(1B)R antagonists. Serotonin-induced potentiation was quantitatively and qualitatively altered in a rat model of depression, restored by chronic antidepressants, and required for the ability of chronic antidepressants to reverse stress-induced anhedonia. Changes in serotonin-mediated potentiation, and its recovery by antidepressants, implicate excitatory synapses as a locus of plasticity in depression.
Project description:Drug combinations that include a psychostimulant such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) and a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor such as fluoxetine are indicated in several medical conditions. Co-exposure to these drugs also occurs with "cognitive enhancer" use by individuals treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Methylphenidate, a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, by itself produces some addiction-related gene regulation in the striatum. We have demonstrated that co-administration of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors potentiates these methylphenidate-induced molecular effects, thus producing a more "cocaine-like" profile. There is evidence that the 5-HT1B serotonin receptor subtype mediates some of the cocaine-induced gene regulation. We thus investigated whether the 5-HT1B receptor also modifies methylphenidate-induced gene regulation, by assessing effects of a selective 5-HT1B receptor agonist (CP94253) on immediate-early gene markers ( Zif268, c- Fos, Homer1a) in adolescent male rats. Gene expression was measured by in situ hybridization histochemistry. Our results show that CP94253 (3, 10 mg/kg) produced a dose-dependent potentiation of methylphenidate (5 mg/kg)-induced expression of Zif268 and c- Fos. This potentiation was widespread in the striatum and was maximal in lateral (sensorimotor) sectors, thus mimicking the effects seen after cocaine alone, or co-administration of fluoxetine. However, in contrast to fluoxetine, this 5-HT1B agonist did not influence methylphenidate-induced expression of Homer1a. CP94253 also potentiated methylphenidate-induced locomotor activity. These findings indicate that stimulation of the 5-HT1B receptor can enhance methylphenidate (dopamine)-induced gene regulation. This receptor may thus participate in the potentiation induced by fluoxetine (serotonin) and may serve as a pharmacological target to attenuate methylphenidate + selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor-induced "cocaine-like" effects.
Project description:We isolated two mutants defective in the uptake of exogenous serotonin (5-HT) into the neurosecretory motor neurons of Caenorhabditis elegans. These mutants were hypersensitive to exogenous 5-HT and hyper-responsive in the experience-dependent enhanced slowing response to food modulated by 5-HT. The two allelic mutations defined the gene mod-5 (modulation of locomotion defective), which encodes the only serotonin reuptake transporter (SERT) in C. elegans. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine (Prozac) potentiated the enhanced slowing response, and this potentiation required mod-5 function, establishing a 5-HT- and SERT-dependent behavioral effect of fluoxetine in C. elegans. By contrast, other responses of C. elegans to fluoxetine were independent of MOD-5 SERT and 5-HT. Further analysis of the MOD-5-independent behavioral effects of fluoxetine could lead to the identification of novel targets of fluoxetine and could facilitate the development of more specific human pharmaceuticals.
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:<h4>Background</h4>Preclinical studies have indicated that antidepressant effect of vortioxetine involves increased synaptic plasticity and promotion of spine maturation. Mitochondria dysfunction may contribute to the pathophysiological basis of major depressive disorder. Taking into consideration that vortioxetine increases spine number and dendritic branching in hippocampus CA1 faster than fluoxetine, we hypothesize that new spines induced by vortioxetine can rapidly form functional synapses by mitochondrial support, accompanied by increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor signaling.<h4>Methods</h4>Rats were treated for 1 week with vortioxetine or fluoxetine at pharmacologically relevant doses. Number of synapses and mitochondria in hippocampus CA1 were quantified by electron microscopy. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor protein levels were visualized with immunohistochemistry. Gene and protein expression of synapse and mitochondria-related markers were investigated with real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction and immunoblotting.<h4>Results</h4>Vortioxetine increased number of synapses and mitochondria significantly, whereas fluoxetine had no effect after 1-week dosing. BDNF levels in hippocampus DG and CA1 were significantly higher after vortioxetine treatment. Gene expression levels of Rac1 after vortioxetine treatment were significantly increased. There was a tendency towards increased gene expression levels of Drp1 and protein levels of Rac1. However, both gene and protein levels of c-Fos were significantly decreased. Furthermore, there was a significant positive correlation between BDNF levels and mitochondria and synapse numbers.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our results imply that mitochondria play a critical role in synaptic plasticity accompanied by increased BDNF levels. Rapid changes in BDNF levels and synaptic/mitochondria plasticity of hippocampus following vortioxetine compared with fluoxetine may be ascribed to vortioxetine's modulation of serotonin receptors.
Project description:A growing body of evidence has shown that chronic treatment with fluoxetine, a widely prescribed medication for treatment of depression, can affect synaptic plasticity in the adult central nervous system. However, it is not well understood whether acute fluoxetine influences synaptic plasticity, especially on hippocampal CA1 long-term depression (LTD), and if so, whether it subsequently impacts hippocampal-dependent spatial memory. Here, we reported that LTD facilitated by elevated-platform stress in hippocampal slices was completely prevented by fluoxetine administration (10 mg/kg, i.p.) 30 min before stress. The LTD was not, however, significantly inhibited by fluoxetine administration immediately after stress. Similarly, fluoxetine incubation (10 μM) during electrophysiological recordings also displayed no influence on the stress-facilitated LTD. In addition, behavioral results showed that a single fluoxetine treatment 30 min before but not after acute stress fully reversed the impairment of spatial memory retrieval in the Morris water maze paradigm. Taken together, these results suggest that acute fluoxetine treatment only before, but not after stress, can prevent hippocampal CA1 LTD and spatial memory retrieval impairment caused by behavioral stress in adult animals.
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:There is growing use of psychostimulant cognitive enhancers such as methylphenidate (Ritalin). Methylphenidate differs from the psychostimulant cocaine because it does not enhance synaptic levels of serotonin. We investigated whether exposure to methylphenidate combined with a serotonin-enhancing medication, the prototypical selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine (Prozac), would produce more "cocaine-like" molecular and behavioral changes.We measured the effects of fluoxetine on gene expression induced by the cognitive enhancer methylphenidate in the striatum and nucleus accumbens of rats, by in situ hybridization histochemistry. We also determined whether fluoxetine modified behavioral effects of methylphenidate.Fluoxetine robustly potentiated methylphenidate-induced expression of the transcription factors c-fos and zif 268 throughout the striatum and to some degree in the nucleus accumbens. Fluoxetine also enhanced methylphenidate-induced stereotypical behavior.Both potentiated gene regulation in the striatum and the behavioral effects indicate that combining the SSRI fluoxetine with the cognitive enhancer methylphenidate mimics cocaine effects, consistent with an increased risk for substance use disorder.
Project description:Long-lasting confusion and memory difficulties during the postictal state remain a major unmet problem in epilepsy that lacks pathophysiological explanation and treatment. We previously identified that long-lasting periods of severe postictal hypoperfusion/hypoxia, not seizures per se, are associated with memory impairment after temporal lobe seizures. While this observation suggests a key pathophysiological role for insufficient energy delivery, it is unclear how the networks that underlie episodic memory respond to vascular constraints that ultimately give rise to amnesia. Here, we focused on cellular/network level analyses in the CA1 of hippocampus in vivo to determine if neural activity, network oscillations, synaptic transmission, and/or synaptic plasticity are impaired following kindled seizures. Importantly, the induction of severe postictal hypoperfusion/hypoxia was prevented in animals treated by a COX-2 inhibitor, which experimentally separated seizures from their vascular consequences. We observed complete activation of CA1 pyramidal neurons during brief seizures, followed by a short period of reduced activity and flattening of the local field potential that resolved within minutes. During the postictal state, constituting tens of minutes to hours, we observed no changes in neural activity, network oscillations, and synaptic transmission. However, long-term potentiation of the temporoammonic pathway to CA1 was impaired in the postictal period, but only when severe local hypoxia occurred. Lastly, we tested the ability of rats to perform object-context discrimination, which has been proposed to require temporoammonic input to differentiate between sensory experience and the stored representation of the expected object-context pairing. Deficits in this task following seizures were reversed by COX-2 inhibition, which prevented severe postictal hypoxia. These results support a key role for hypoperfusion/hypoxia in postictal memory impairments and identify that many aspects of hippocampal network function are resilient during severe hypoxia except for long-term synaptic plasticity.
Project description:Use of psychostimulants such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) in medical treatments and as cognitive enhancers in the healthy is increasing. Methylphenidate produces some addiction-related gene regulation in animal models. Recent findings show that combining selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants such as fluoxetine with methylphenidate potentiates methylphenidate-induced gene regulation. We investigated the endurance of such abnormal gene regulation by assessing an established marker for altered gene regulation after drug treatments - blunting (repression) of immediate-early gene (IEG) inducibility - 14 days after repeated methylphenidate+fluoxetine treatment in adolescent rats. Thus, we measured the effects of a 6-day repeated treatment with methylphenidate (5 mg/kg), fluoxetine (5 mg/kg) or their combination on the inducibility (by cocaine) of neuroplasticity-related IEGs (Zif268, Homer1a) in the striatum, by in situ hybridization histochemistry. Repeated methylphenidate treatment alone produced modest gene blunting, while fluoxetine alone had no effect. In contrast, fluoxetine given in conjunction with methylphenidate produced pronounced potentiation of methylphenidate-induced blunting for both genes. This potentiation was seen in many functional domains of the striatum, but was most robust in the lateral, sensorimotor striatum. These enduring molecular changes were associated with potentiated induction of behavioral stereotypies in an open-field test. For illicit psychostimulants, blunting of gene expression is considered part of the molecular basis of addiction. Our results thus suggest that SSRIs such as fluoxetine may increase the addiction liability of methylphenidate. Key words: cognitive enhancer, dopamine, serotonin, gene expression, psychostimulant, SSRI antidepressant, striatum.