Hippocampal HDAC4 contributes to postnatal fluoxetine-evoked depression-like behavior

Ambalika Sarkar, Parul Chachra, Pamela Kennedy, Catherine J. Pena, Lynette A. Desouza, Eric J. Nestler, Vidita A. Vaidya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Fluoxetine treatment in adulthood evokes antidepressant and anxiolytic responses. Paradoxically, postnatal fluoxetine (PNFlx) induces persistent depression- and anxiety-like behaviors. The mechanistic underpinnings of this paradox remain poorly understood. Here, we examined specific molecular changes in the rat hippocampus that accompany perturbed emotionality observed across life following PNFlx. PNFlx-induced hippocampal gene regulation observed in microarray and quantitative PCR studies indicate functional enrichment of genes involved in response to organic substances, protein kinase pathways, DNA binding, and transcriptional repression. We noted specific transcripts (Hdac4, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), Gnai1, protein kinase C gamma (Prkcc), and hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channel 1 (Hcn1)) that were consistently dysregulated across life, and selectively influenced by postnatal, but not adult, fluoxetine. Increased histone deacetylase-4 (HDAC4) recruitment, accompanied by decreased activating histone acetylation marks at the mTOR and Gnai1 promoters, indicate a role for HDAC4 in PNFlx-mediated gene dysregulation. Strikingly, coadministration of the HDAC inhibitor sodium butyrate with PNFlx prevented the dysregulation of Hdac4 and mTOR, and the emergence of depression- and anxiety-like behavior. Importantly, we also find that retreatment of PNFlx animals with fluoxetine in adulthood reversed the increased Hdac4 expression, prevented HDAC4 recruitment to the mTOR and Gnai1 promoters, and attenuated the decline in mTOR and Gnai1 expression, coincident with normalization of PNFlx-evoked depression- and anxiety-like behavior. Further, we show that viral-mediated hippocampal overexpression of Hdac4 was sufficient to induce depression-, but not anxiety-, like behavior in adulthood. Our results highlight the unique nature of molecular signatures evoked by PNFlx, and implicate HDAC4 in the dysregulated gene expression and emergence of perturbed emotionality following fluoxetine exposure in early life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2221-2232
Number of pages12
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology


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