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Brain Res. 2015 Aug 7;1616:88-100. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2015.04.058. Epub 2015 May 8.

Repeated fluvoxamine treatment recovers juvenile stress-induced morphological changes and depressive-like behavior in rats.

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Department of Neuropharmacology, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo 060-8638, Japan.
Department of Neuropharmacology, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo 060-8638, Japan. Electronic address:
Department of Anatomy, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo 060-8638, Japan.


Human studies have suggested that early life stress such as child abuse could enhance susceptibility to depressive disorders. Moreover, the abnormalities of the prefrontal cortex have been associated with depression. Although clinical studies have implied the negative effects of early life stress on brain development, the causality and the detailed morphogenetic changes has not been clearly elucidated. In the present study, we determined the effect of juvenile stress exposure on the presentation of depressive-like behavior and the neural mechanisms involved using a rodent model. Rat pups were exposed to footshock stress during postnatal days 21-25 followed by repeated oral administration of fluvoxamine (0 or 10mg/kg/d × 14 days), which is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. At the postadolescent stage forced swim test assessment of depressive-like behavior and Golgi-Cox staining of medial prefrontal cortex pyramidal neurons followed by morphological analyses were carried out. Post-adolescent behavioral and morphological studies identified the presentation of increased depressive-like behaviors and reduced spine densities and dendritic lengths of layer II/III pyramidal neuron in the infralimbic cortex, but not in the prelimbic cortex of rats exposed to juvenile stress. Repeated fluvoxamine treatment recovered the increased depressive-like behavior and reduced spine densities/dendritic lengths observed in rats exposed to footshock stress. Cortical thicknesses in the infralimbic cortex and prelimbic cortex were also reduced by juvenile stress, but these reductions were not recovered by fluvoxamine treatment. The results demonstrate cortical sensitivities to stress exposures during the juvenile stage which mediate behavioral impairments, and provide a clue to find therapeutics for early life stress-induced emotional dysfunctions.


Animal model; Mood disorders; Postnatal stress; SSRI; Spinogenesis

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