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J Neuroendocrinol. 2014 Feb;26(2):80-8. doi: 10.1111/jne.12129.

Oestradiol alters central 5-HT1A receptor binding potential differences related to psychosocial stress but not differences related to 5-HTTLPR genotype in female rhesus monkeys.

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Division of Developmental & Cognitive Neuroscience, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA; Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Sciences, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.


Social subordination in female macaques represents a well-described model of chronic psychosocial stress. Additionally, a length polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) in the regulatory region of the serotonin (5-HT) transporter (5-HTT) gene (SLC6A4) is present in rhesus macaques, which has been linked to adverse outcomes similar to that described in humans with an analogous 5-HTTLPR polymorphism. The present study determined the effects of social status and the 5-HTTLPR genotype on 5-HT1A receptor binding potential (5-HT1A BP(ND)) in brain regions implicated in emotional regulation and stress reactivity in ovariectomised female monkeys, and then assessed how these effects were altered by 17β-oestradiol (E(2)) treatment. Areas analysed included the prefrontal cortex [anterior cingulate (ACC); medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC); dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; orbitofrontal prefrontal cortex], amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus and raphe nucleui. Positron emission tomography using p-[(18) F]MPPF was performed to determine the levels of 5-HT1A BP(ND) under a non-E(2) and a 3-week E(2) treatment condition. The short variant (s-variant) 5-HTTLPR genotype produced a significant reduction in 5-HT1A BP(ND) in the mPFC regardless of social status, and subordinate s-variant females showed a reduction in 5-HT1A BP(ND) within the ACC. Both these effects of 5-HTTLPR were unaffected by E(2). Additionally, E(2) reduced 5-HT1A BP(ND) in the dorsal raphe of all females irrespective of psychosocial stress or 5-HTTLPR genotype. Hippocampal 5-HT1A BP(ND) was attenuated in subordinate females regardless of 5-HTTLPR genotype during the non-E(2) condition, an effect that was normalised with E(2). Similarly, 5-HT1A BP(ND) in the hypothalamus was significantly lower in subordinate females regardless of 5-HTTLPR genotype, an effect reversed with E(2). Taken together, the data indicate that the effect of E(2) on modulation of central 5HT1A BP(ND) may only occur in brain regions that show no 5-HTTLPR genotype-linked control of 5-HT1A binding.


5-HT1A receptor; 5-HTTLPR; monkeys; oestradiol; psychosocial stress; social subordination

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