Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Of Mice and Fear

Science's STKE  01 Aug 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 346, pp. tw260
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3462006tw260

The neurotransmitter serotonin [5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)] modulates a diverse array of functions related to homeostasis and responses to the environment. Despite its importance, little is known about the brain structures or the postsynaptic receptors that mediate 5-HT effects. Weisstaub et al. created 5-HT2A receptor (5-HT2AR) knockout mice and found that these animals exhibited less anxiety and more disinhibition in a conflictual situation. This behavior could be reversed by selectively restoring 5-HT2ARs in the cortex. However, restored 5-HT2AR expression in a subcortical region such as the thalamus produced no difference between rescued and knockout mice.

N. V. Weisstaub, M. Zhou, A. Lira, E. Lambe, J. González-Maeso, J.-P. Hornung, E. Sibille, M. Underwood, S. Itohara, W. T. Dauer, M. S. Ansorge, E. Morelli, J. J. Mann, M. Toth, G. Aghajanian, S. C. Sealfon, R. Hen. J. A. Gingrich, Cortical 5-HT2A receptor signaling modulates anxiety-like behaviors in mice. Science 313, 536-540 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]