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Altered expression of glutamate signaling, growth factor and glia genes in the locus coeruleus of patients with major depression

Abstract : Several studies have proposed that brain glutamate signaling abnormalities and glial pathology play a role in the etiology of major depression (MD). These conclusions were primarily drawn from postmortem studies in which forebrain brain regions were examined. The locus coeruleus is the primary source of extensive noradrenergic innervation of the forebrain and as such exerts a powerful regulatory role over cognitive and affective functions, which are dysregulated in MD. Furthermore, altered noradrenergic neurotransmission is associated with depressive symptoms and is thought to play a role in the pathophysiology of MD. In the present study we used laser-capture microdissection to selectively harvest locus coeruleus (LC) tissue from postmortem brains of MD patients, patients with bipolar disorder (BP), and from psychiatrically-normal subjects. Using microarray technology we examined global patterns of gene expression. Differential expression of select candidate genes was then interrogated using quantitative real-time PCR and in situ hybridization. Our findings reveal multiple signaling pathway alterations in the LC of MD, but not BP subjects. These include glutamate signaling genes SLC1A2, SLC1A3, GLUL, growth factor genes FGFR3 and TrkB, and several genes exclusively expressed in astroglia. Our data extend previous findings of altered glutamate, astroglial and growth factor functions in MD for the first time to the brainstem. These findings indicate that such alterations: 1) are unique to MD and distinguishable from BP, and 2) affect multiple brain regions, suggesting a whole-brain dysregulation of such functions.
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Contributor : Hal Peer <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, October 13, 2010 - 2:51:17 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 13, 2010 - 2:51:17 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, December 2, 2016 - 10:50:12 AM


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René Bernard, I Kerman, Robert Thompson, Edward Jones, William Bunney, et al.. Altered expression of glutamate signaling, growth factor and glia genes in the locus coeruleus of patients with major depression. Molecular Psychiatry, Nature Publishing Group, 2010, ⟨10.1038/mp.2010.44⟩. ⟨hal-00525855⟩



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