Fluoxetine regulates mTOR signalling in a region-dependent manner in depression-like mice

Sci Rep. 2015 Nov 2:5:16024. doi: 10.1038/srep16024.


Previous studies have demonstrated that the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway has an important role in ketamine-induced, rapid antidepressant effects despite the acute administration of fluoxetine not affecting mTOR phosphorylation in the brain. However, the effects of long-term fluoxetine treatment on mTOR modulation have not been assessed to date. In the present study, we examined whether fluoxetine, a type of commonly used antidepressant agent, alters mTOR signaling following chronic administration in different brain regions, including the frontal cortex, hippocampus, amygdala and hypothalamus. We also investigated whether fluoxetine enhanced synaptic protein levels in these regions via the activation of the mTOR signaling pathway and its downstream regulators, p70S6K and 4E-BP-1. The results indicated that chronic fluoxetine treatment attenuated the chronic, unpredictable, mild stress (CUMS)-induced mTOR phosphorylation reduction in the hippocampus and amygdala of mice but not in the frontal cortex or the hypothalamus. Moreover, the CUMS-decreased PSD-95 and synapsin I levels were reversed by fluoxetine, and these effects were blocked by rapamycin only in the hippocampus. In conclusion, our findings suggest that chronic treatment with fluoxetine can induce synaptic protein expression by activating the mTOR signaling pathway in a region-dependent manner and mainly in the hippocampus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / drug effects
  • Amygdala / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Depression / metabolism*
  • Fluoxetine / pharmacology*
  • Frontal Lobe / drug effects
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases, 70-kDa / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Stress, Psychological / metabolism
  • Synapsins / metabolism
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Synapsins
  • Fluoxetine
  • mTOR protein, mouse
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases, 70-kDa
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases