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Direct retino-raphe projection alters serotonergic tone and affective behavior.

Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (2013-02-02)
Chaoran Ren, Liju Luan, Benson Wui-Man Lau, Xin Huang, Jian Yang, Yuan Zhou, Xihong Wu, Jie Gao, Gary E Pickard, Kwok-Fai So, Mingliang Pu
ABSTRACT

Light is a powerful modulator of higher-order cognitive processes such as mood but it remains unclear which neural circuits mediate the impact of light on affective behavior. We found that light deprivation produces a depressive-like behavioral state that is reversed by activation of direct retinal signals to the serotonergic dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) in a manner equivalent to treatment with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine. Surprisingly, the DRN-projecting retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) are indistinguishable from the classic alpha/Y-like RGC type that contributes to image-forming visual pathways. Silencing RGC firing or specific immunotoxin ablation of DRN-projecting RGCs increased depressive-like behavior and reduced serotonin levels in the DRN. Serotonin has a key role in the pathophysiology of depression, and these results demonstrate that retino-raphe signals modulate DRN serotonergic tone and affective behavior.

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Fluoxetine hydrochloride, solid
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