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Brain Res. 1995 Oct 30;697(1-2):251-3.

Serotonin depletion decreases serotonin transporter mRNA levels in rat brain.

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Institute for Basic Research in Psychiatry, Psychiatric University Hospital, Risskov, Denmark.


In order to study the impact of serotonin depletion on gene expression of the serotonin transporter (5-HTt) we measured 5-HTt mRNA levels by Northern blot in rats treated with p-chlorophenylalanine methyl ester (PCPA) for 10 days. Six rats received PCPA i.p. only, and another 6 rats receiving 0.9% NaCl served as controls. An additional group of 6 rats received both PCPA i.p. and imipramine, 5 mg/kg/day by osmotic minipumps. 5-HTt mRNA levels decreased to 81.1% (P = 0.05) and 76.0% (P = 0.05) of the control level for PCPA treated animals without and with concomitant imipramine treatment, respectively. The average level of the PCPA treated groups was 78.6% (P = 0.03). The isolated effect of 21 days of imipramine treatment was a 5-HTt mRNA level of 89.4%, which was not significantly different from the control level. In conclusion, 5-HTt gene expression is suppressed in the serotonin depleted state. A decreased synaptic reuptake of 5-HT may be interpreted as a compensatory mechanism aiming at preserving adequate synaptic 5-HT levels in a generally deficient state.

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