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Chronic SSRI Treatment Exacerbates Serotonin Deficiency in Humanized Tph2 Mutant Mice

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posted on 2016-02-20, 01:25 authored by William B. Siesser, Benjamin D. Sachs, Amy J. Ramsey, Tatyana D. Sotnikova, Jean-Martin Beaulieu, Xiaodong Zhang, Marc G. Caron, Raul R. Gainetdinov
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a major class of antidepressants that act by blocking inward transport of serotonin (5-HT) into presynaptic neurons mediated by the serotonin transporter (SERT). Both reuptake and ongoing synthesis are essential in supporting intraneuronal serotonin concentrations in serotonergic neurons. A rare mutation in tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (Tph2), the rate limiting enzyme for 5-HT synthesis, was identified in several patients with major depression, and knock-in mice expressing the analogous mutation (R439H Tph2 KI) show 80% reduction in 5-HT synthesis and tissue levels. Chronic treatment with SSRIs (fluoxetine and paroxetine) resulted in a dramatic further depletion of 5-HT tissue levels in R439H Tph2 KI mice (down to 1–3% of wild type levels) while having little effects in wild-type controls. Treatment with the 5-HT precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) restored 5-HT tissue content in mutant mice, and cotreatment with 5-HTP and fluoxetine essentially prevented the depleting effect of a chronic SSRI. These data demonstrate that chronic SSRI treatment could further exacerbate the 5-HT deficiency in Tph2 mutation carriers, and this can be prevented by 5-HTP supplementation.

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