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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1993 Jan;17(1-2):31-5.

Regional brain expression of serotonin transporter mRNA and its regulation by reuptake inhibiting antidepressants.

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Section on Neuropharmacology, NIMH, NIH Clinical Center, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Regional expression and antidepressant drug-induced regulation of mRNA encoding the serotonin (5-HT) transporter were studied in rat brain. While 5-HT transporter mRNA is abundantly expressed in the midbrain raphe complex, lower concentrations were also found in frontal cortex, hippocampus, and neostriatum using a combination of reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), Southern hybridization, and sequence analysis. Long-term administration of antidepressants which inhibit 5-HT reuptake, but not monoamine oxidase inhibitors or 5-HT receptor agonists, decrease 5-HT transporter mRNA steady-state concentrations. Based on these observations, we conclude that (1) mRNA coding for the 5-HT transporter is present in several brain areas associated with ascending HT pathways, and (2) chronic treatment with reuptake inhibiting antidepressants may be associated with regulation of the 5-HT transporter at the level of gene expression which may contribute to the neuroadaptive mechanisms that likely underlie their therapeutic efficacy.

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