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Science 306 (5697): 879-881

Copyright © 2004 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Early-Life Blockade of the 5-HT Transporter Alters Emotional Behavior in Adult Mice

Mark S. Ansorge,1,2,3 Mingming Zhou,2,3 Alena Lira,2,3 René Hen,2,4 Jay A. Gingrich2,3*

Abstract: Reduced serotonin transporter (5-HTT) expression is associated with abnormal affective and anxiety-like symptoms in humans and rodents, but the mechanism of this effect is unknown. Transient inhibition of 5-HTT during early development with fluoxetine, a commonly used serotonin selective reuptake inhibitor, produced abnormal emotional behaviors in adult mice. This effect mimicked the behavioral phenotype of mice genetically deficient in 5-HTT expression. These findings indicate a critical role of serotonin in the maturation of brain systems that modulate emotional function in the adult and suggest a developmental mechanism to explain how low-expressing 5-HTT promoter alleles increase vulnerability to psychiatric disorders.

1 Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10032, USA.
2 Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10032, USA.
3 Department of Developmental Psychobiology, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY 10032, USA.
4 Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY 10032, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jag46{at}columbia.edu


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