Prenatal selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) exposure induces working memory and social recognition deficits by disrupting inhibitory synaptic networks in male mice
ABSTRACT: 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:Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs in pregnant women. Infants born following prenatal exposure to SSRIs have a higher risk for behavioral abnormalities, however, the underlying mechanisms remains unknown. Therefore, we examined the effects of prenatal fluoxetine, the most commonly prescribed SSRI, in mice. Intriguingly, chronic in utero fluoxetine treatment impaired working memory and social novelty recognition in adult males. In the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a key region regulating these behaviors, we found augmented spontaneous inhibitory synaptic transmission onto the layer 5 pyramidal neurons. Fast-spiking interneurons in mPFC exhibited enhanced intrinsic excitability and serotonin-induced excitability due to upregulated serotonin (5-HT) 2A receptor (5-HT2AR) signaling. More importantly, the behavioral deficits in prenatal fluoxetine treated mice were reversed by the application of a 5-HT2AR antagonist. Taken together, our findings suggest that alterations in inhibitory neuronal modulation are responsible for the behavioral alterations following prenatal exposure to SSRIs.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Women are at great risk for mood and anxiety disorders during their childbearing years and may become pregnant while taking antidepressant drugs. In the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most frequently prescribed drugs, while it is largely unknown whether this medication affects the development of the central nervous system of the fetus. The possible effects are the product of placental transfer efficiency, time of administration and dose of the respective SSRI. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In order to attain this information we have setup a study in which these parameters were measured and the consequences in terms of physiology and behavior are mapped. The placental transfer of fluoxetine and fluvoxamine, two commonly used SSRIs, was similar between mouse and human, indicating that the fetal exposure of these SSRIs in mice is comparable with the human situation. Fluvoxamine displayed a relatively low placental transfer, while fluoxetine showed a relatively high placental transfer. Using clinical doses of fluoxetine the mortality of the offspring increased dramatically, whereas the mortality was unaffected after fluvoxamine exposure. The majority of the fluoxetine-exposed offspring died postnatally of severe heart failure caused by dilated cardiomyopathy. Molecular analysis of fluoxetine-exposed offspring showed long-term alterations in serotonin transporter levels in the raphe nucleus. Furthermore, prenatal fluoxetine exposure resulted in depressive- and anxiety-related behavior in adult mice. In contrast, fluvoxamine-exposed mice did not show alterations in behavior and serotonin transporter levels. Decreasing the dose of fluoxetine resulted in higher survival rates and less dramatic effects on the long-term behavior in the offspring. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that prenatal fluoxetine exposure affects fetal development, resulting in cardiomyopathy and a higher vulnerability to affective disorders in a dose-dependent manner.
Project description:The use of antidepressant treatment during pregnancy is increasing, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most widely prescribed antidepressants in pregnant women. Serotonin plays a role in embryogenesis, and serotonin transporters are expressed in two-cell mouse embryos. Thus, the aim of the present study was to evaluate whether fluoxetine, one of the most prescribed SSRI antidepressant world-wide, exposure influences the timing of different embryo developmental stages, and furthermore, to analyze what protein, and protein networks, are affected by fluoxetine in the early embryo development. Human embryos (n = 48) were randomly assigned to treatment with 0.25 or 0.5 ?M fluoxetine in culture medium. Embryo development was evaluated by time-lapse monitoring. The fluoxetine-induced human embryo proteome was analyzed by shotgun mass spectrometry. Protein secretion from fluoxetine-exposed human embryos was analyzed by use of high-multiplex immunoassay. The lower dose of fluoxetine had no influence on embryo development. A trend toward reduced time between thawing and start of cavitation was noted in embryos treated with 0.5 ?M fluoxetine (p = 0.065). Protein analysis by shotgun mass spectrometry detected 45 proteins that were uniquely expressed in fluoxetine-treated embryos. These proteins are involved in cell growth, survival, proliferation, and inflammatory response. Culturing with 0.5 ?M, but not 0.25 ?M fluoxetine, caused a significant increase in urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) in the culture medium. In conclusion, fluoxetine has marginal effects on the timing of developmental stages in embryos, but induces expression and secretion of several proteins in a manner that depends on dose. For these reasons, and in line with current guidelines, the lowest possible dose of SSRI should be used in pregnant women who need to continue treatment.
Project description:A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor is the most commonly prescribed antidepressant for the treatment of major depression. However, the mechanisms underlying the actions of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are not fully understood. In the dentate gyrus, chronic fluoxetine treatment induces increased excitability of mature granule cells (GCs) as well as neurogenesis. The major input to the dentate gyrus is the perforant path axons (boutons) from the entorhinal cortex (layer II). Through voltage-sensitive dye imaging, we found that the excitatory neurotransmission of the perforant path synapse onto the GCs in the middle molecular layer of the mouse dentate gyrus (perforant path-GC synapse) is enhanced after chronic fluoxetine treatment (15 mg/kg/day, 14 days). Therefore, we further examined whether chronic fluoxetine treatment affects the morphology of the perforant path-GC synapse, using FIB/SEM (focused ion beam/scanning electron microscopy). A three-dimensional reconstruction of dendritic spines revealed the appearance of extremely large-sized spines after chronic fluoxetine treatment. The large-sized spines had a postsynaptic density with a large volume. However, chronic fluoxetine treatment did not affect spine density. The presynaptic boutons that were in contact with the large-sized spines were large in volume, and the volumes of the mitochondria and synaptic vesicles inside the boutons were correlated with the size of the boutons. Thus, the large-sized perforant path-GC synapse induced by chronic fluoxetine treatment contains synaptic components that correlate with the synapse size and that may be involved in enhanced glutamatergic neurotransmission.
Project description:The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine is widely prescribed for the treatment of symptoms related to a variety of psychiatric disorders. After chronic SSRI treatment, some symptoms remediate on the long term, but the underlying mechanisms are not yet well understood. Here we studied the long-term consequences (40 days after treatment) of chronic fluoxetine exposure on genome-wide gene expression. During the treatment period, we measured body weight; and 1 week after treatment, cessation behavior in an SSRI-sensitive anxiety test was assessed. Gene expression was assessed in hippocampal tissue of adult rats using transcriptome analysis and several differentially expressed genes were validated in independent samples. Gene ontology analysis showed that upregulated genes induced by chronic fluoxetine exposure were significantly enriched for genes involved in myelination. We also investigated the expression of myelination-related genes in adult rats exposed to fluoxetine at early life and found two myelination-related genes (Transferrin (Tf) and Ciliary neurotrophic factor (Cntf)) that were downregulated by chronic fluoxetine exposure. Cntf, a neurotrophic factor involved in myelination, showed regulation in opposite direction in the adult versus neonatally fluoxetine-exposed groups. Expression of myelination-related genes correlated negatively with anxiety-like behavior in both adult and neonatally fluoxetine-exposed rats. In conclusion, our data reveal that chronic fluoxetine exposure causes on the long-term changes in expression of genes involved in myelination, a process that shapes brain connectivity and contributes to symptoms of psychiatric disorders.
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:Prior research evaluated various effects of the 2004 black-box warning by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the risk of suicidality among children associated with use of antidepressants, but the warning's effect on dosing of antidepressants has not been evaluated. This study estimated whether the initial antidepressant dose prescribed decreased and the proportion of patients who augmented the dose on the second fill increased following the 2004 warning and its 2007 expansion to young adults.The study utilized the LifeLink Health Plan Claims Database. The study cohort consisted of commercially insured children (ages 5-17), young adults (18-24), and adults (25-64) who initiated a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) (citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, or sertraline) from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2009. Dose per day was determined by days' supply, strength, and quantity dispensed. Initiation with a low dose and augmentation of >1 mg/day on the second prescription before and after the 2004 warning were considered.Of 51,948 children who initiated an SSRI, 15% initiated with a low dose before the 2004 warning compared with 31% after the warning; there was a smaller change among young adults (6 percentage points) and adults (3 percentage points). The overall increase in dose augmentations among children and young adults was driven by the increase in patients initiating with a low dose.The proportion of commercially insured children initiating an SSRI with a low dose was higher after the 2004 FDA warning on the risk of suicidality among children, suggesting improved prescribing practices surrounding SSRI dosing among children.
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:Recently, the putative association between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) exposure during pregnancy and the development of social disorders in children has gained increased attention. However, clinical studies struggle with the confounding effects of maternal depression typically co-occurring with antidepressant treatment. Furthermore, preclinical studies using an animal model of maternal depression to study effects of perinatal SSRI exposure on offspring social behavior are limited. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate effects of perinatal fluoxetine exposure on juvenile and adult social behavior in male and female rat offspring, using an animal model of maternal vulnerability. We exposed heterozygous serotonin transporter (SERT) deficient female rats to early life maternal separation stress, and used this as a model for maternal vulnerability. Control and early life stressed heterozygous serotonin transporter knockout (SERT) dams were treated with the SSRI fluoxetine or vehicle throughout gestation and lactation. Subsequently, both male and female wildtype (SERT+/+) and heterozygous (SERT+/-) rat offspring were tested for pup ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs), juvenile social play behavior and adult social interaction. Fluoxetine treatment of the dams resulted in a reduced total USV duration in pups at postnatal day 6, especially in SERT+/+ males. Perinatal fluoxetine exposure lowered social play behavior in male offspring from both control and early life stressed dams. However, in females a fluoxetine-induced reduction in juvenile play behavior was only present in offspring from control dams. Offspring genotype did not affect juvenile play behavior. Despite fluoxetine-induced behavioral effects at juvenile age, fluoxetine reduced male adult social behavior in offspring from control dams only. Effects of fluoxetine on female adult social behavior were virtually absent. Interestingly, early life stress in dams increased adult social exploration in vehicle exposed SERT+/+ female offspring and total social behavior in fluoxetine exposed adult SERT+/- male offspring. Furthermore, SERT+/- males appeared less social during adulthood compared to SERT+/+ males. Overall, the present study shows that chronic blockade of the serotonin transporter by fluoxetine during early development has a considerable impact on pup USVs, juvenile social play behavior in both male and female offspring, and to a lesser extent on male social interaction in adulthood.