The expression of plasticity-related genes in an acute model of stress is modulated by chronic desipramine in a time-dependent manner within medial prefrontal cortex

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It is well established that stress plays a major role in the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric diseases. Stress-induced alteration of synaptic plasticity has been hypothesized to underlie the morphological changes observed by neuroimaging in psychiatric patients in key regions such as hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (PFC). We have recently shown that a single acute stress exposure produces significant short-term alterations of structural plasticity within medial PFC. These alterations were partially prevented by previous treatment with chronic desipramine (DMI). In the present study we evaluated the effects of acute Foot-shock (FS)-stress and pre-treatment with the traditional antidepressant DMI on the gene expression of key regulators of synaptic plasticity and structure. Expression of Homer, Shank, Spinophilin, Densin-180, and the small RhoGTPase related gene Rac1 and downstream target genes, Limk1, Cofilin1 and Rock1 were investigated 1 day (1d), 7 d and 14d after FS-stress exposure. We found that DMI specifically increases the short-term expression of Spinophilin, as well as Homer and Shank family genes, and that both acute stress and DMI exert significant long-term effects on mRNA levels of genes involved in spine plasticity. These findings support the knowledge that acute FS stress and antidepressant treatment induce both rapid and sustained time-dependent alterations in structural components of synaptic plasticity in rodent medial PFC.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Pages (from-to)19-28
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

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