The adipocyte-derived hormone adiponectin has a broad spectrum of functions beyond metabolic control. We previously reported that adiponectin acts in the brain to regulate depression-related behaviors. However, its underlying neural substrates have not been identified. Here we show that adiponectin receptor 1 (AdipoR1) is expressed in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) and colocalized with tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TPH2), a marker of serotonin (5-HT) neurons. Selective deletion of AdipoR1 in 5-HT neurons induced anhedonia in male mice, as indicated by reduced female urine sniffing time and saccharin preference, and behavioral despair in female mice and enhanced stress-induced decrease in sucrose preference in both sexes. The expression levels of TPH2 were downregulated with a concurrent reduction of 5-HT-immunoreactivity in the DRN and its two major projection regions, the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), in male but not female mice lacking AdipoR1 in 5-HT neurons. In addition, serotonin transporter (SERT) expression was upregulated in both DRN projection fields of male mice but only in the mPFC of female mice. These changes presumably lead to decreased 5-HT synthesis and/or increased 5-HT reuptake, thereby reducing 5-HT transmission. The augmented behavioral responses to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine but not desipramine, a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, observed in conditional knockout male mice supports deficient 5-HT transmission underlying depression-related phenotypes. Our results indicate that adiponectin acts on 5-HT neurons through AdipoR1 receptors to regulate depression-related behaviors in a sex-dependent manner.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Molecular Biology