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    Clinical reports suggest a potential link between excess retinoids and development of depression. Although it has been shown that all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) administration induces behavioral changes, further insight into how ATRA is involved is lacking. The hippocampus seems to be a major target of retinoids, and abnormal synaptic plasticity of the hippocampus is involved in depression. We examined two genes associated with synaptic function, discs large homolog 2 (DLG2), and synapse differentiation-inducing gene protein 1 (SynDIG1) in terms of hippocampal expression and correlation with behavior. Three different doses of ATRA were injected into young mice and 10 mg/kg ATRA was found to induce depression-like behavior. In the hippocampus, DLG2 mRNA was significantly decreased by ATRA. mRNA levels were positively correlated with central area duration and distance in the open-field test. Increased SynDIG1 mRNA levels were observed. There was a negative correlation between SynDIG1 mRNA levels and mobility time in the forced swimming test. Retinoic acid receptor γ mRNA was significantly positively correlated with DLG2 and negatively correlated with SynDIG1. To summarize, ATRA administration induced anxiety- and depression-like behavior accompanied by a decreased expression of DLG2 and an increased expression of SynDIG1. Moreover, DLG2 was correlated with anxiety-like behavior and SynDIG1 was correlated with depression-like behavior. These results might constitute a novel target underlying ATRA-induced anxiety- and depression-like behavior.


    Xin-Ya Qin, Hui Fang, Qing-Hong Shan, Cong-Cong Qi, Jiang-Ning Zhou. All-trans Retinoic Acid-induced Abnormal Hippocampal Expression of Synaptic Genes SynDIG1 and DLG2 is Correlated with Anxiety or Depression-Like Behavior in Mice. International journal of molecular sciences. 2020 Apr 11;21(8)

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    PMID: 32290523

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