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siRNA-mediated knockdown of the serotonin transporter in the adult mouse brain.

Thakker, Deepak, Natt, Francois, Huesken, Dieter, Van Der Putten, P. Herman, Maier, Rainer, Hoyer, Daniel and Cryan, John F. (2005) siRNA-mediated knockdown of the serotonin transporter in the adult mouse brain. Molecular Psychiatry, 10 (8). pp. 782-789. ISSN 1359-4184


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are widely used antidepressant drugs that increase the extracellular levels of serotonin by blocking the reuptake activity of the serotonin transporter (SERT). Although SSRIs elevate brain serotonergic neurotransmission acutely, their full therapeutic effects involve neurochemical adaptations that emerge following chronic drug administration. The adaptive downregulation of SERT has recently been implicated in the therapeutic response of SSRIs. Interestingly, studies using SERT-knockout mice reveal somewhat paradoxical depression-related effects, probably specific to the downregulation of SERT during early development. However, the behavioral significance of SSRI-mediated downregulation of SERT during adulthood is still unknown. We investigated whether somatic gene manipulation, triggered by infusing short interfering RNA (siRNA) into the ventricular system, would enable the downregulation of SERT in the adult mouse brain. Infusing the SERT-targeting siRNA, for 2 weeks, significantly reduced the mRNA levels of SERT in raphe nuclei. Further, a significant, specific and widespread downregulation of SERT-binding sites was achieved in the brain. In contrast, 2-week infusion of the SSRI, citalopram, produced a widespread downregulation of SERT-binding sites, independent of any alterations at the mRNA level. Irrespective of their mechanisms for downregulating SERT in the brain, infusions of SERT-siRNA or citalopram elicited a similar antidepressant-related behavioral response in the forced swim test. These results signify a role for the downregulation of SERT in mediating the antidepressant action of SSRIs in adults. Further, these data demonstrate that siRNA-induced widespread knockdown of gene expression serves as a powerful tool for assessing the function of endogenous genes in the adult brain.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing); Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
Keywords: RNA interference; depression; forced swim test; citalopram; in vivo; dopamine transporter
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Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2009 13:57
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2013 01:12


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