Leptin receptor deficiency confers resistance to behavioral effects of fluoxetine and desipramine via separable substrates

M. Guo, X. Y. Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Depression is a complex, heterogeneous mental disorder. Currently available antidepressants are only effective in about one-third to one-half of all patients. The mechanisms underlying antidepressant response and treatment resistance are poorly understood. Recent clinical evidence implicates the involvement of leptin in treatment response to antidepressants. In this study, we determined the functional role of the leptin receptor (LepRb) in behavioral responses to the selective serotonergic antidepressant fluoxetine and the noradrenergic antidepressant desipramine. While acute and chronic treatment with fluoxetine or desipramine in wild-type mice elicited antidepressant-like effects in the forced swim test, mice null for LepRb (db/db) displayed resistance to treatment with either fluoxetine or desipramine. Fluoxetine stimulated phosphorylation of Akt(Thr308) and GSK-3(Ser9) in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (PFC) of wild-type mice but not in db/db mice. Desipramine failed to induce measurable changes in Akt, GSK-3â or ERK1/2 phosphorylation in the hippocampus and PFC, as well as hypothalamus of either genotype of mice. Deletion of LepRb specifically from hippocampal and cortical neurons resulted in fluoxetine insensitivity in the forced swim test and tail suspension test while leaving the response to desipramine intact. These results suggest that functional LepRb is critically involved in regulating the antidepressant-like behavioral effects of both fluoxetine and desipramine. The antidepressant effects of fluoxetine but not desipramine are dependent on the presence of functional LepRb in the hippocampus and cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere486
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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