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  • Fibroblast growth factor 8 deficiency compromises the functional response of the serotonergic system to stress.

Fibroblast growth factor 8 deficiency compromises the functional response of the serotonergic system to stress.

PloS one (2014-07-06)
Leah R Brooks, Heide L Pals, Courtney L Enix, Rachel A Woolaver, Evan D Paul, Christopher A Lowry, Pei-San Tsai
ABSTRACT

Functionally heterogeneous populations of serotonergic neurons, located within the dorsal raphe nucleus (DR), play a role in stress-related behaviors and neuropsychiatric illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Abnormal development of these neurons may permanently alter their structure and connections, making the organism more susceptible to anxiety-related disorders. A factor that critically regulates the development of serotonergic neurons is fibroblast growth factor 8 (Fgf8). In this study, we used acute restraint stress followed by behavioral testing to examine whether Fgf8 signaling during development is important for establishing functional stress- and anxiety-related DR neurocircuits in adulthood. Wild-type and heterozygous male mice globally hypomorphic for Fgf8 were exposed to acute restraint stress and then tested for anxiety-like behavior on the elevated plus-maze. Further, we measured c-Fos immunostaining as a marker of serotonergic neuronal activation and tissue 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid concentrations as a marker of serotonin functional output. Results showed that Fgf8 hypomorphs exhibited 1) an exaggerated response of DR anxiety-promoting circuits and 2) a blunted response of a DR panic-inhibiting circuit to stress, effects that together were associated with increased baseline anxiety-like behavior. Overall, our results provide a neural substrate upon which Fgf8 deficiency could affect stress response and support the hypothesis that developmental disruptions of serotonergic neurons affect their postnatal functional integrity.

MATERIALS
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Product Description

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