[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The impact of serotonergic neurotransmission on brain dopaminergic pathways has substantial relevance to many neuropsychiatric disorders. A particularly prominent role has been ascribed to the inhibitory effects of serotonin 2C receptor (5-HT(2C)R) activation on physiology and behavior mediated by the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway, particularly in the terminal region of the nucleus accumbens. The influence of this receptor subtype on functions mediated by the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway is less clear. Here we report that a null mutation eliminating expression of 5-HT(2C)Rs produces marked alterations in the activity and functional output of this pathway. 5-HT(2C)R mutant mice displayed increased activity of substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) dopaminergic neurons, elevated baseline extracellular dopamine concentrations in the dorsal striatum (DSt), alterations in grooming behavior, and enhanced sensitivity to the stereotypic behavioral effects of d-amphetamine and GBR 12909. These psychostimulant responses occurred in the absence of phenotypic differences in drug-induced extracellular dopamine concentration, suggesting a phenotypic alteration in behavioral responses to released dopamine. This was further suggested by enhanced behavioral responses of mutant mice to the D(1) receptor agonist SKF 81297. Differences in DSt D(1) or D(2) receptor expression were not found, nor were differences in medium spiny neuron firing patterns or intrinsic membrane properties following dopamine stimulation. We conclude that 5-HT(2C)Rs regulate nigrostriatal dopaminergic activity and function both at SNc dopaminergic neurons and at a locus downstream of the DSt.
Journal of Neuroscience 07/2009; 29(25):8156-65. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amphetamine (AMPH) releases monoamines, transiently stimulates locomotion, and inhibits feeding. Using a genetic approach, we show that mice lacking dopamine (DA-deficient, or DD, mice) are resistant to the hypophagic effects of a moderate dose of AMPH (2 microg/g) but manifest normal AMPH-induced hypophagia after restoration of DA signaling in the caudate putamen by viral gene therapy. By contrast, AMPH-induced hypophagia in response to the same dose of AMPH is not blunted in mice lacking the ability to make norepinephrine and epinephrine (Dbh(-/-)), dopamine D(2) receptors (D2r(-/-)), dopamine D(1) receptors (D1r(-/-)), serotonin 2C receptors (Htr2c(-/Y)), neuropeptide Y (Npy(-/-)), and in mice with compromised melanocortin signaling (A(y)). We suggest that, at this moderate dose of AMPH, dysregulation of striatal DA is the primary cause of AMPH-induced hypophagia and that regulated striatal dopaminergic signaling may be necessary for normal feeding behaviors.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neural mechanisms underlying the regulation of ingestive behavior and energy balance are well conserved among mammals. Many neural pathways, each reflecting the function of many genes, interact to regulate these processes. Systematic genetic perturbations are not feasible in humans--the examination of gene functions relevant to feeding regulation must be performed in other species. Many advances in this field have been made through molecular genetic studies of mice, the most genetically tractable of mammalian species. The relevance of mouse ingestive behavior to the mechanisms underlying the regulation of feeding in humans is discussed. Approaches for evaluating the contributions of genes to the regulation of energy balance and to the actions of anorectic drugs are described in the context of studies focused on a line of mice lacking the serotonin 5-HT2C receptor subtype. These animal display reduced responsiveness to serotonergic anorexic drugs and a late-onset obesity syndrome associated with features reminiscent of common forms of human obesity. Developmental studies of energy balance uncovered a novel age-dependent physiological process that may contribute generally to the predisposition of humans and other mammals to accumulate fat stores during "middle-age." These findings are presented to illustrate considerations in the use of mouse molecular genetic technologies to investigate genetic influences on ingestive behavior and energy balance.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have observed late-onset obesity in mutant mice lacking the serotonin 5-HT(2C) receptor. Despite chronically elevated food intake, young adult mutants exhibit neither elevated adiposity nor altered glucose or fat homeostasis. However, obesity subsequently develops after 6 months of age without increases in their level of hyperphagia. In this study, we investigated determinants of energy expenditure in 5-HT(2C) receptor mutant mice. Young adult mutants displayed patterns of elevated activity levels that were enhanced by fasting and tightly associated with repeated visits to a food source. Surprisingly, subsequent obesity development occurred despite persisting locomotor hyperactivity and without age-related declines in resting metabolic rate. Rather, substantial reductions in the energy cost of locomotor activity (LA) were observed in 5-HT(2C) receptor mutant mice. Moreover, both mutant and wild-type mice displayed age-related declines in the energy cost of LA, indicating that this process may be regulated by both aging and serotonergic signaling. These results indicate that a mutation of the 5-HT(2C) receptor gene (htr2c) increases LA, which contributes to the maintenance of normal body composition in young adult mutants despite their hyperphagia. Moreover, age-dependent reductions in the energy cost of physical activity could contribute to the subsequent development of late-onset obesity in 5-HT(2C) receptor mutant mice.