Evaluation of antidepressant-related behavioral responses in mice lacking the serotonin transporter

Andrew Holmes, Rebecca J. Yang, Dennis L. Murphy, Jacqueline Crawley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

219 Scopus citations

Abstract

Inhibition of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) is a principal initial target of many antidepressants. However, the contribution of the 5-HTT to their therapeutic efficacy is incompletely understood. We utilized a targeted gene mutation approach to examine the role of the 5-HTT in the behavioral actions of antidepressants. The 5-HTT mutation was bred onto two separate genetic backgrounds, C57BL/6J and 129S6. On a preliminary screen for gross physical, neurological and behavioral functions, all measures were normal with the exception that 5-HTT -/- mice on the C57BL/6J background showed increased body weight and poor rotarod performance, and 5-HTT -/- mice on the 129S6 background showed reduced neuromuscular strength. On the tail suspension test, 5-HTT -/- mice on the 129S6 background showed a baseline antidepressant-like reduction in immobility. In contrast, the same mice showed increased immobility in the forced swim test, possibly due to compromised neuromuscular strength. 5-HTT -/- mice on the C57BL/6J background showed no baseline antidepressant-related phenotype on either test. The behavioral effects of three antidepressants were tested in 5-HTT mutant mice (C57BL/6J background) in the tail suspension test. The anti-immobility effects of the serotonin reuptake inhibitor, fluoxetine (30 mg/kg), were abolished in 5-HTT -/- mice, confirming that the 5-HTT gene is required for the behavioral effects of fluoxetine. In contrast, 5-HTT-/- mice retained sensitivity to the anti-immobility effects of the norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, desipramine (20 mg/kg), and the mixed serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, imipramine (25 mg/kg). 5-HTT knockout mice provide a valuable tool for delineating the neuropsychopharmacological actions of antidepressants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)914-923
Number of pages10
JournalNeuropsychopharmacology
Volume27
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Antidepressant
  • Depression
  • Desipramine
  • Fluoxetine
  • Gene knockout mouse
  • Serotonin transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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