Early life stress and serotonin transporter gene variation interact to affect the transcription of the glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors, and the co-chaperone FKBP5, in the adult rat brain
SourceFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 8, (2014), article 355
Article / Letter to editor
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Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
SubjectRadboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
The short allelic variant of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) promoter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) has been associated with the etiology of major depression by interaction with early life stress (ELS). A frequently observed endophenotype in depression is the abnormal regulation of levels of stress hormones such as glucocorticoids. It is hypothesized that altered central glucocorticoid influence on stress-related behavior and memory processes could underlie the depressogenic interaction of 5-HTTLPR and ELS. One possible mechanism could be the altered expression of the genes encoding the glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors (GR, MR) and their inhibitory regulator FK506-binding protein 51 (FKBP5) in stress-related forebrain areas. To test this notion, we exposed heterozygous (5-HTT(+/-)) and homozygous (5-HTT(-/-)) serotonin transporter knockout rats and their wildtype littermates (5-HTT(+/+)) to daily 3 h maternal separations from postnatal day 2 to 14. In the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and hippocampus of the adult male offspring, we found that GR, MR, and FKBP5 mRNA levels were affected by ELS x 5-HTT genotype interaction. Specifically, 5-HTT(+/+) rats exposed to ELS showed decreased GR and FKBP5 mRNA in the dorsal and ventral mPFC, respectively. In contrast, 5-HTT(+/-) rats showed increased MR mRNA levels in the hippocampus and 5-HTT(-/-) rats showed increased FKBP5 mRNA in the ventral mPFC after ELS exposure. These findings indicate that 5-HTT genotype determines the specific adaptation of GR, MR, and FKBP5 expression in response to early life adversity. Therefore, altered extra-hypothalamic glucocorticoid signaling should be considered to play a role in the depressogenic interaction of ELS and 5-HTTLPR.
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