Structurally dissimilar antimanic agents modulate synaptic plasticity by regulating AMPA glutamate receptor subunit GluR1 synaptic expression.
A growing body of data from clinical and preclinical studies suggests that the glutamatergic system may represent a novel therapeutic target for severe recurrent mood disorders. Since synapse-specific glutamate receptor expression/localization is known to play critical roles in synaptic plasticity, we investigated the effects of mood stabilizers on AMPA receptor expression. Rats were treated chronically with lithium or valproate, hippocampal synaptosomes were isolated, and GluR1 levels were determined. Additionally, hippocampal neurons were prepared from E18 rat embryos and treated with lithium or valproate. Surface expression of GluR1 was determined using a biotinylation assay, and double-immunostaining with anti-GluR1 and anti-synaptotagmin antibodies was used to determine synaptic GluR1 levels. The AMPA receptor subunit GluR1 expression in hippocampal synaptosomes was significantly reduced by both chronic lithium and valproate. Overall, these studies show that AMPA receptor subunit GluR1 is a common target for two structurally highly dissimilar, but highly efficacious, mood stabilizers, lithium and valproate. These studies suggest that regulation of glutamatergically mediated synaptic plasticity may play a role in the treatment of mood disorders, and raise the possibility that agents more directly affecting synaptic GluR1 may represent novel therapies for this devastating illness.
Du, J; Gray, NA; Falke, C; Yuan, P; Szabo, S; Manji, HK
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