Depressive behavior and selective down-regulation of serotonin receptor expression after early-life seizures: reversal by environmental enrichment

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pediatrics



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Analysis of Variance; Animals; Animals, Newborn; Behavior, Animal; Depressive Disorder; Down-Regulation; *Environment; Kainic Acid; Microarray Analysis; Rats; Rats, Long-Evans; Receptors, Serotonin; Seizures; Swimming


Neurology | Pediatrics


Depression is the most common psychiatric comorbidity in epilepsy. To better understand the contribution of seizures versus environment to depression in epilepsy, we investigated differential gene expression using microarray and quantitative RT-PCR, and depressive behavior, in the Porsolt forced swim test in juvenile rats reared in different environments after kainic acid (KA)-induced seizures. We selected for genes significantly down-regulated by KA seizures and upregulated by environmental enrichment. This common gene selection process yielded one known gene involved in mood and affect: serotonin receptor 5B. The changes in serotonin receptor gene expression were paralleled by decreased mobility in the forced swim tests; depressive behavior exhibited after seizures was no longer evident in rats reared in environmental enrichment. Our results suggest that seizures lead to increased susceptibility to depression through transcriptional regulation while environment, in turn, can interact with gene expression to influence the behavioral outcome of epilepsy.

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Citation: Epilepsy Behav. 2007 Feb;10(1):26-31. Link to article on publisher's site

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