Freud-1/Cc2d1a represses the gene transcription of serotonin-1A (5-HT1A) autoreceptors, which negatively regulate 5-HT tone. To test the role of Freud-1 in vivo, we generated mice with adulthood conditional knock-out of Freud-1 in 5-HT neurons (cF1ko). In cF1ko mice, 5-HT1A autoreceptor protein, binding and hypothermia response were increased, with reduced 5-HT content and neuronal activity in the dorsal raphe. The cF1ko mice displayed increased anxiety- and depression-like behavior that was resistant to chronic antidepressant (fluoxetine) treatment. Using conditional Freud-1/5-HT1A double knock-out (cF1/1A dko) to disrupt both Freud-1 and 5-HT1A genes in 5-HT neurons, no increase in anxiety- or depression-like behavior was seen upon knock-out of Freud-1 on the 5-HT1A autoreceptor-negative background; rather, a reduction in depression-like behavior emerged. These studies implicate transcriptional dysregulation of 5-HT1A autoreceptors by the repressor Freud-1 in anxiety and depression and provide a clinically relevant genetic model of antidepressant resistance. Targeting specific transcription factors, such as Freud-1, to restore transcriptional balance may augment response to antidepressant treatment.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Altered regulation of the 5-HT1A autoreceptor has been implicated in human anxiety, major depression, suicide, and resistance to antidepressants. This study uniquely identifies a single transcription factor, Freud-1, as crucial for 5-HT1A autoreceptor expression in vivo Disruption of Freud-1 in serotonin neurons in mice links upregulation of 5-HT1A autoreceptors to anxiety/depression-like behavior and provides a new model of antidepressant resistance. Treatment strategies to reestablish transcriptional regulation of 5-HT1A autoreceptors could provide a more robust and sustained antidepressant response.
BACKGROUND: The nigrostriatal pathway is of great importance for the execution of movements, especially in the context of Parkinson's disease. In research, analysis of this pathway often requires the application of severe animal experiments. Organotypic nigrostriatal slice cultures offer a resource-saving alternative to animal experiments for research on the nigrostriatal system. NEW METHOD: We have established a time-saving protocol for the preparation of murine sagittal nigrostriatal slice cultures by using a tissue chopper and agarose embedding instead of a vibratome. Furthermore, we developed the first murine co-culture model and the first co-culture utilising sagittal slices for modelling the nigrostriatal pathway. RESULTS: Sagittal nigrostriatal slice cultures show good overall tissue preservation and a high number of morphologically unimpaired dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. Sagittal-frontal co-culture demonstrates massive outgrowth of dopaminergic fibres from the substantia nigra into co-cultured tissue. COMPARISON WITH EXISTING METHODS: The use of a tissue chopper instead of a vibratome allows notable time-saving during culture preparation, therefore allowing optimisation of the preparation time. Sagittal co-cultures offer the opportunity to study dopaminergic fibres in their physiological environment and in co-cultured tissue from a different animal in the same culture system. CONCLUSION: We here present a possibility to optimise the slice culture preparation process with the simple means of using a tissue chopper and fast agarose embedding. Furthermore, our sagittal-frontal co-culture system is suitable for the observation of dopaminergic outgrowth in both co-cultured tissues.