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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2005 Jun;30(6):1039-47.

Sex differences in the regulation of serotonergic transmission and behavior in 5-HT receptor knockout mice.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, 415 Curie Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Abstract

Few studies have examined the relationship between genetics, stress, and sex-linked differences in neurotransmitter systems. Examining serotonin (5-HT) receptor knockout mice on stress-induced behavioral depression, female 5-HT1B receptor knockout mice demonstrated significantly reduced immobility than either male 5-HT1B receptor knockout mice or male and female wild-type mice on the tail suspension test (TST) and forced swimming test. The behavioral phenotype was identified as likely due to a disinhibition of 5-HT release, because depletion of 5-HT with parachlorophenylalanine selectively reduced immobility of female 5-HT1B receptor knockout mice in the TST. In contrast, male and female 5-HT1A receptor knockout mice demonstrated reduced immobility compared with control mice, but the depletion of 5-HT with PCPA did not reverse the antidepressant-like phenotype. Microdialysis studies confirmed significantly higher baseline levels of hippocampal 5-HT in female, but not male, 5-HT1B receptor knockout mice. Both male and female 5-HT1B receptor knockout mice demonstrated augmented dialysate responses to fluoxetine. Also, both male and female 5-HT1B receptor knockout mice demonstrated reductions of immobility in the TST after treatment with fluoxetine. Therefore, female 5-HT1B receptor knockout mice demonstrate a sex-linked disinhibition of 5-HT release that sustained higher baseline levels of hippocampal 5-HT and behavioral vulnerability to 5-HT depletion.

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