Effect of Early-Life Fluoxetine on Anxiety-Like Behaviors in BDNF Val66Met Mice
Dincheva I, Yang J, Li A, Marinic T, Freilingsdorf H, Huang C, Casey BJ, Hempstead B, Glatt CE, Lee FS, Bath KG, Jing D
Am J Psychiatry. 2017; 174(12):1203-13.
OBJECTIVE: Adolescence is a developmental stage in which the incidence of psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety disorders, peaks. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the main class of agents used to treat anxiety disorders. However, the impact of SSRIs on the developing brain during adolescence remains unknown. The authors assessed the impact of developmentally timed SSRI administration in a genetic mouse model displaying elevated anxiety-like behaviors.
METHOD: Knock-in mice containing a common human single-nucleotide polymorphism (Val66Met; rs6265) in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a growth factor implicated in the mechanism of action of SSRIs, were studied based on their established phenotype of increased anxiety-like behavior. Timed administration of fluoxetine was delivered during one of three developmental periods (postnatal days 21-42, 40-61, or 60-81), spanning the transition from childhood to adulthood. Neurochemical and anxiety-like behavioral analyses were performed.
RESULTS: We identified a "sensitive period" during periadolescence (postnatal days 21-42) in which developmentally timed fluoxetine administration rescued anxiety-like phenotypes in BDNF Val66Met mice in adulthood. Compared with littermate controls, BDNFMet/Met mice exhibited diminished maturation of serotonergic fibers projecting particularly to the prefrontal cortex, as well as decreased expression of the serotonergic trophic factor S100B in the dorsal raphe. Interestingly, deficient serotonergic innervation, as well as S100B levels, were rescued with fluoxetine administration during periadolescence.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that SSRI administration during a "sensitive period" during periadolescence leads to long-lasting anxiolytic effects in a genetic mouse model of elevated anxiety-like behaviors. These persistent effects highlight the role of BDNF in the maturation of the serotonin system and the capacity to enhance its development through a pharmacological intervention.