The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology

Repeated treatment with electroconvulsive seizures induces HDAC2 expression and down-regulation of NMDA receptor-related genes through histone deacetylation in the rat frontal cortex.

PMID 24606669


The enzymatic activity of histone deacetylases (HDACs) leads to a histone deacetylation-mediated condensed chromatic structure, resulting in transcriptional repression, which has been implicated in the modifications of neural circuits and behaviors. Repeated treatment with electroconvulsive seizure (ECS) induces changes in histone acetylation, expression of various genes, and intrabrain cellular changes, including neurogenesis. In this study, we examined the effects of repeated ECS on the expression of class I HDACs and related changes in histone modifications and gene expression in the rat frontal cortex. Ten days of repeated ECS treatments (E10X) up-regulated HDAC2 expression at the mRNA and protein levels in the rat frontal cortex compared with sham-treated controls; this was evident in the nuclei of neuronal cells in the prefrontal, cingulate, orbital, and insular cortices. Among the known HDAC2 target genes, mRNA expression of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor signaling-related genes, including early growth response-1 (Egr1), c-Fos, glutamate receptor, ionotropic, N-methyl d-aspartate 2A (Nr2a), Nr2b, neuritin1 (Nrn1), and calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II alpha (Camk2α), were decreased, and the histone acetylation of H3 and/or H4 proteins was also reduced by E10X. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis revealed that HDAC2 occupancy in the promoters of down-regulated genes was increased significantly. Moreover, administration of sodium butyrate, a HDAC inhibitor, during the course of E10X ameliorated the ECS-induced down-regulation of genes in the rat frontal cortex. These findings suggest that induction of HDAC2 by repeated ECS treatment could play an important role in the down-regulation of NMDA receptor signaling-related genes in the rat frontal cortex through histone modification.