We previously reported that serotonergic transmission is involved in the antidepressant effects of metabotropic glutamate 2/3 (mGlu2/3) receptor antagonists. However, the detailed underlying mechanisms had not yet been explored. In the present study, we investigated the role of the 5-HT1A receptor and its signaling cascade in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in the antidepressant effects of LY341495, an mGlu2/3 receptor antagonist.
LY341495 significantly reduced the immobility time in the forced swimming test which sustained for 24 h after administration. The antidepressant effect of LY341495 was attenuated by either intraperitoneal or intra-mPFC injection of WAY100635, a 5-HT1A receptor antagonist. Among the signaling cascades mediated by the 5-HT1A receptor, the role of phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling, which has a critical role in neuroplasticity, was investigated. The sustained antidepressant effect of LY341495 was blocked by intra-mPFC injection of LY294002, a PI3K inhibitor. LY341495 increased the phosphorylation of Akt in the mPFC, which was blocked by both intra-mPFC injection of WAY100635 and LY294002. Thus, LY341495 activates PI3K/Akt signaling, presumably via stimulation of the 5-HT1A receptor in the mPFC, to exert its sustained antidepressant effect. Involvement of mechanistic target of rapamycin complex-1 (mTORC1) signaling was also demonstrated, as the sustained antidepressant effects of LY341495 was attenuated by intra-mPFC injection of rapamycin, an mTORC1 inhibitor. Finally, the sustained antidepressant effect of LY341495 was also attenuated by silencing of the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) neurons.
These results suggest that stimulation of the 5-HT1A receptor in the mPFC and its signaling cascade, PI3K/Akt/mTORC1 signaling mediate the sustained antidepressant effect of LY341495, and that activation of the DRN neurons is also involved in these processes.