Differential hippocampal gene expression and pathway analysis in an etiology-based mouse model of major depressive disorder

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2014 Sep;165B(6):457-66. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.b.32257. Epub 2014 Jul 25.


We have recently reported the creation and initial characterization of an etiology-based recombinant mouse model of a severe and inherited form of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). This was achieved by replacing the corresponding mouse DNA sequence with a 6-base DNA sequence from the human CREB1 promoter that is associated with MDD in individuals from families with recurrent, early-onset MDD (RE-MDD). In the current study, we explored the effect of the pathogenic Creb1 allele on gene expression in the mouse hippocampus, a brain region that is altered in structure and function in MDD. Mouse whole-genome profiling was performed using the Illumina MouseWG-6 v2.0 Expression BeadChip microarray. Univariate analysis identified 269 differentially-expressed genes in the hippocampus of the mutant mouse. Pathway analyses highlighted 11 KEGG pathways: the phosphatidylinositol signaling system, which has been widely implicated in MDD, Bipolar Disorder, and the action of mood stabilizers; gap junction and long-term potentiation, which mediate cognition and memory functions often impaired in MDD; cardiac muscle contraction, insulin signaling pathway, and three neurodegenerative brain disorders (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's Diseases) that are associated with MDD; ribosome and proteasome pathways affecting protein synthesis/degradation; and the oxidative phosphorylation pathway that is key to energy production. These findings illustrate the merit of this congenic C57BL/6 recombinant mouse as a model of RE-MDD, and demonstrate its potential for highlighting molecular and cellular pathways that contribute to the biology of MDD. The results also inform our understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the comorbidity of MDD with other disorders.

Keywords: CREB1; comorbidity; microarray; mitochondria; proteinopathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / genetics*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*