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Effect of serotonin transporter genotype on carbon dioxide-induced fear-related behavior in mice

Effect of serotonin transporter genotype on carbon dioxide-induced fear-related behavior in mice
Leibold, Nicole K.van den Hove, Daniel L. A.Weidner, Magdalena T.Buchanan, Gordon F.Steinbusch, Hendrik Wilhelm MariaLesch, Klaus-PeterSchruers, Koen R. J.
DGIST Authors
Leibold, Nicole K.; van den Hove, Daniel L. A.; Weidner, Magdalena T.; Buchanan, Gordon F.; Steinbusch, Hendrik Wilhelm Maria; Lesch, Klaus-Peter; Schruers, Koen R. J.
Issue Date
Journal of Psychopharmacology, 34(12), 1408-1417
Article Type
Author Keywords
carbon dioxidePanic attackspanic disorderserotonin transporter
Background: Inhaling 35% carbon dioxide induces an emotional and symptomatic state in humans closely resembling naturally occurring panic attacks, the core symptom of panic disorder. Previous research has suggested a role of the serotonin system in the individual sensitivity to carbon dioxide. In line with this, we previously showed that a variant in the SLC6A4 gene, encoding the serotonin transporter, moderates the fear response to carbon dioxide in humans. To study the etiological basis of carbon dioxide-reactivity and panic attacks in more detail, we recently established a translational mouse model. Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether decreased expression of the serotonin transporter affects the sensitivity to carbon dioxide. Methods: Based on our previous work, wildtype and serotonin transporter deficient (+/–, –/–) mice were monitored while being exposed to carbon dioxide-enriched air. In wildtype and serotonin transporter +/– mice, also cardio-respiration was assessed. Results: For most behavioral measures under air exposure, wildtype and serotonin transporter +/– mice did not differ, while serotonin transporter –/– mice showed more fear-related behavior. Carbon dioxide exposure evoked a marked increase in fear-related behaviors, independent of genotype, with the exception of time serotonin transporter –/– mice spent in the center zone of the modified open field test and freezing in the two-chamber test. On the physiological level, when inhaling carbon dioxide, the respiratory system was strongly activated and heart rate decreased independent of genotype. Conclusion: Carbon dioxide is a robust fear-inducing stimulus. It evokes inhibitory behavioral responses such as decreased exploration and is associated with a clear respiratory profile independent of serotonin transporter genotype. © The Author(s) 2020.
SAGE Publications
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