The postnatal 5-HT1A receptor regulates adult anxiety and depression differently via multiple molecules
Serotonin (5-HT) and the 5-HT1A receptor during development are known to modulate anxiety and depression in later life. However, the brain mechanisms linking the postnatal 5-HT system and adult behavior remain unknown. Here, we examined the effects of pharmacological 5-HT1A receptor activation during the postnatal period on anxiety and depression-like behavior in adult BALB/c male mice. To elucidate the underlying mechanisms, we measured mRNA expression of the 5-HT1A receptor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), GABAA receptor subunits, and AMPA receptor subunits in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), amygdala, and hippocampus. Treatment with the selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitor (fluoxetine) and 5-HT1A receptor agonist (8-OH-DPAT) during the postnatal period decreased anxiety-like behavior in adulthood, whereas only 8-OH-DPAT treatment increased depression-like behavior. Concomitantly with the behavioral effects, postnatal treatment with fluoxetine and 8-OH-DPAT decreased the mRNA expression of the GABAA receptor α3 subunit in the mPFC and ventral hippocampus in adulthood, while 8-OH-DPAT, but not fluoxetine, decreased the mRNA expression of the 5-HT1A receptor and BDNF in the mPFC and the GABAA receptor α2 subunit in the mPFC and ventral hippocampus. On the basis of the correlative changes between behavior and mRNA expression, these results suggest that the GABAA receptor α3 subunit in the mPFC and ventral hippocampus may regulate anxiety-like behavior. In contrast, depression-like behavior may be regulated by the 5-HT1A receptor and BDNF in the mPFC and by the GABAA receptor α2 subunit in the mPFC and ventral hippocampus. In summary, activation of the 5-HT1A receptor during the postnatal period may reduce anxiety levels, but increase depression levels during adulthood via different multiple molecules in the mPFC and ventral hippocampus.