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Neuroscience. 2011 Mar 10;176:420-30. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2010.10.075. Epub 2010 Nov 3.

Neuropeptide Y-Y2 receptor knockout mice: influence of genetic background on anxiety-related behaviors.

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Neurosciences Centre for Excellence in Drug Discovery, Mood and Anxiety Disorders DPU, GlaxoSmithKline Medicines Research Center, via Fleming 4, 37135 Verona, Italy.


Neuropeptide Y (NPY) has been extensively studied in relation to anxiety and depression but of the seven NPY receptors known to date, it is not yet clear which one is mainly involved in mediating its effects in emotional behavior. Mice lacking the NPY-Y2 receptors were previously shown to be less anxious due to their improved ability to cope with stressful situations. In the present study, the behavioral phenotype including the response to challenges was analyzed in NPY-Y2 knockout (KO) mice backcrossed in to congenic C57BL/6 background. In the elevated plus-maze (EPM) and the forced swim test (FST), the anxiolytic-like or antidepressant-like phenotype of the NPY-Y2 KO mice could not be confirmed, although this study differs from the previous one only with regard to the genetic background of the mice. In addition, no differences in response to acute stress or to the antidepressant desipramine in the FST were detected between wild type (WT) and NPY-Y2 KO animals. These results suggest that the genetic background of the animals appears to have a strong influence on the behavioral phenotype of NPY-Y2 KO mice. Additionally, to further characterize the animals by their biochemical response to a challenge, the neurochemical changes induced by the anxiogenic compound yohimbine were measured in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of NPY-Y2 KO and compared to WT mice. Dopamine (DA) levels were significantly increased by yohimbine in the WT but unaffected in the KO mice, suggesting that NPY-Y2 receptor exerts a direct control over both the tonic and phasic release of DA and that, although the anxiety-like behavior of these NPY-Y2 KO mice is unaltered, there are clear modifications of DA dynamics. However, yohimbine led to a significant increase in noradrenaline (NA) concentration and a slight reduction in serotonin concentration that were identical for both phenotypes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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