Characterization of the serotonin transporter knockout rat: A selective change in the functioning of the serotonergic system

J. R. Homberg, J.D.A. Olivier, B. M. G. Smits, J. D. Mul, J. Mudde, M. Verheul, O. F. M. Nieuwenhuizen, A. R. Cools, E Ronken, Thomas Cremers, A. N. M. Schoffelmeere, B. A. Ellenbroeik, E. Cuppen

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Abstract

Serotonergic signaling is involved in many neurobiological processes and disturbed 5-HT homeostasis is implicated in a variety of psychiatric and addictive disorders. Here, we describe the functional characterization of the serotonin transporter (SERT) knockout rat model, that is generated by N-ethyl-N-nitrosurea (ENU)-driven target-selected mutagenesis. Biochemical characterization revealed that SERT mRNA and functional protein are completely absent in homozygous knockout (SERT-/-) rats, and that there is a gene dose-dependent reduction in the expression and function of the SERT in heterozygous knockout rats. As a result, 5-HT homeostasis was found to be severely affected in SERT-/- rats: 5-HT tissue levels and depolarization-induced 5-HT release were significantly reduced, and basal extracellular 5-HT levels in the hippocampus were ninefold increased. Interestingly, we found no compensatory changes in in vitro activity of tryptophan hydroxylase and monoamine oxidase, the primary enzymes involved in 5-HT synthesis and degradation, respectively. Similarly, no major adaptations in nonserotonergic systems were found, as determined by dopamine and noradrenaline transporter binding, monoamine tissue levels, and depolarization-induced release of dopamine, noradrenaline, glutamate and GABA. In conclusion, neurochemical changes in the SERT knockout rat are primarily limited to the serotonergic system, making this novel rat model potentially very useful for studying the behavioral and neurobiological consequences of disturbed 5-HT homeostasis. (C) 2007 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1662-1676
Number of pages15
JournalNeuroscience
Volume146
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8-Jun-2007

Keywords

  • target-selected mutagenesis
  • serotonin transporter
  • 5-HT homeostasis
  • 5-HTTLPR
  • MICE LACKING
  • DOPAMINE-TRANSPORTER
  • NOREPINEPHRINE TRANSPORTER
  • DEFICIENT MICE
  • OUT MICE
  • REGULATORY REGION
  • GENETIC-VARIATION
  • 5-HT TRANSPORTER
  • BRAIN-REGIONS
  • EXPRESSION

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