Melatonin (MLT) levels fluctuate according to the external light/dark cycle in both diurnal and nocturnal mammals. We previously demonstrated that melatonin MT2 receptor knockout (MT2-/- ) mice show a decreased nonrapid eye movement sleep over 24 hours and increased wakefulness during the inactive (light) phase. Here, we investigated the role of MT2 receptors in physiological light/dark cycle fluctuations in the activity of dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) serotonin (5-HT) neurons and anxiety- and depression-like behavior. We found that the 5-HT burst-firing activity was tonically reduced across the whole 24 hours in MT2-/- mice compared with MT2+/+ mice.  Importantly, the physiological changes in the spontaneous firing activity of DRN 5-HT neurons during the light/dark cycle were nullified in MT2-/- mice, with a higher DRN 5-HT neural firing activity during the light phase in MT2-/- than in MT2+/+  mice. The role of MT2 receptors over DRN 5-HT neurons was confirmed by acute pharmacological studies in which the selective MT2 receptors agonist UCM1014 dose dependently inhibited DRN 5-HT activity, mostly during the dark phase. Compared with MT2+/+ , MT2-/- mice displayed an anxiety-like phenotype in the novelty-suppressed feeding and in the light/dark box tests; while anxiety levels in the light/dark box test were lower during the dark than during the light phase in MT2+/+ mice, the opposite was seen in MT2-/- mice. No differences between MT2+/+ and MT2-/- mice were observed for depression-like behavior in the forced swim and in the sucrose preference tests. These results suggest that MT2 receptor genetic inactivation impacts 5-HT neurotransmission and interferes with anxiety levels by perturbing the physiologic light/dark pattern.

Dysfunction of serotonergic activity and emotional responses across the light-dark cycle in mice lacking melatonin  MT2 receptors

Bedini, Annalida;
2020-01-01

Abstract

Melatonin (MLT) levels fluctuate according to the external light/dark cycle in both diurnal and nocturnal mammals. We previously demonstrated that melatonin MT2 receptor knockout (MT2-/- ) mice show a decreased nonrapid eye movement sleep over 24 hours and increased wakefulness during the inactive (light) phase. Here, we investigated the role of MT2 receptors in physiological light/dark cycle fluctuations in the activity of dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) serotonin (5-HT) neurons and anxiety- and depression-like behavior. We found that the 5-HT burst-firing activity was tonically reduced across the whole 24 hours in MT2-/- mice compared with MT2+/+ mice.  Importantly, the physiological changes in the spontaneous firing activity of DRN 5-HT neurons during the light/dark cycle were nullified in MT2-/- mice, with a higher DRN 5-HT neural firing activity during the light phase in MT2-/- than in MT2+/+  mice. The role of MT2 receptors over DRN 5-HT neurons was confirmed by acute pharmacological studies in which the selective MT2 receptors agonist UCM1014 dose dependently inhibited DRN 5-HT activity, mostly during the dark phase. Compared with MT2+/+ , MT2-/- mice displayed an anxiety-like phenotype in the novelty-suppressed feeding and in the light/dark box tests; while anxiety levels in the light/dark box test were lower during the dark than during the light phase in MT2+/+ mice, the opposite was seen in MT2-/- mice. No differences between MT2+/+ and MT2-/- mice were observed for depression-like behavior in the forced swim and in the sucrose preference tests. These results suggest that MT2 receptor genetic inactivation impacts 5-HT neurotransmission and interferes with anxiety levels by perturbing the physiologic light/dark pattern.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2682396
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