Changes in vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT2) and synaptophysin in rat substantia nigra and prefrontal cortex induced by psychotropic drugs

Michal Zucker, Abraham Weizman, Daniela Harel, Moshe Rehavi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We investigated the regulatory effect of the dopaminergic agent L-dopa, the mood stabilizer lithium and the nonselective monoamine oxidase inhibitor phenelzine on brain vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT2) expression. Rats were treated chronically (21 days) with the three psychoactive drugs. VMAT2 gene expression at the protein level was assessed in the prefrontal cortex and striatum by autoradiography with high-affinity [3H]dihydrotetrabenazine ([3H]TBZOH) binding and at the mRNA level in the substantia nigra pars compacta by in situ hybridization. In addition, the effect of various treatments on the synaptophysin mRNA level was determined in the substantia nigra by in situ hybridization. Chronic administration of L-dopa resulted in a significant decrease (28%, p < 0.05) in the density of [3H]TBZOH binding in the prefrontal cortex but had no effect on VMAT2 and synaptophysin mRNA levels in the substantia nigra. Lithium treatment increased [3H]TBZOH-specific binding in the prefrontal cortex (23%, p < 0.05) but had no effect on VMAT2 and synaptophysin mRNA levels. Phenelzine did not modulate VMAT2 gene expression but reduced the synaptophysin mRNA level (19%, p < 0.05). The modulatory activities of these drugs, although relatively weak, may be relevant to the drug-induced synaptic and neuronal plasticity as well as to the molecular and cellular pathophysiology of monoamine-related neuropsychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-191
Number of pages5
JournalNeuropsychobiology
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Keywords

  • L-dopa
  • Lithium
  • Phenelzine
  • Synaptophysin
  • VMAT2
  • Vesicular monoamine transporter

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