Role of hippocampal 5-HT1A receptors in the antidepressant-like phenotype of mice expressing RGS-insensitive Gαi2 protein

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Abstract

A single base mutation in the Gαi2 protein (G184S) renders this Gα subunit insensitive to the negative modulatory effects of Regulator of G-protein Signaling (RGS) proteins. Mice expressing this RGS insensitive (RGSi) variant of Gαi2 (RGSi Gαi2) display a spontaneous antidepressant-like phenotype that is reversible by treatment with the 5-HT1A receptor (5-HT1AR) antagonist WAY100635. Here we test the hypothesis that increased activity of 5-HT1ARs in the hippocampus of RGSi Gαi2 knock-in mice is responsible for the expression of the observed antidepressant-like behavior. We administered the 5-HT1AR antagonist WAY100635 or the agonist 8-OH-DPAT via bilateral intra-hippocampal infusion cannulae and evaluated antidepressant-like behavior using the tail suspension test (TST). WAY100635 reversed the antidepressant-like phenotype of the RGSi Gαi2 knock-in mice and 8-OH-DPAT produced an antidepressant-like response in wild type mice that was blocked by systemic WAY100635. Furthermore, intra-hippocampal infusion of the RGS19/4 inhibitor CCG-203769 produced an antidepressant-like effect in female mice. Ex-vivo slice recording confirmed the 5-HT1AR-mediated decrease in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neuron excitability was enhanced in the RGSi Gαi2 knock-in mice. There was no change in hippocampal 5-HT1AR expression as measured by ligand binding but there was a compensatory reduction in Gαi proteins. The findings demonstrate that RGS protein control of hippocampal 5-HT1AR signaling is necessary and sufficient to account for the antidepressant-like phenotype in the RGSi Gαi2 knock-in mice and that RGS proteins highly expressed in the hippocampus should be investigated as targets for novel antidepressant therapies.

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