Mechanical Regulation Underlies Effects of Exercise on Serotonin-Induced Signaling in the Prefrontal Cortex Neurons

iScience. 2020 Feb 21;23(2):100874. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2020.100874. Epub 2020 Jan 31.


Mechanical forces are known to be involved in various biological processes. However, it remains unclear whether brain functions are mechanically regulated under physiological conditions. Here, we demonstrate that treadmill running and passive head motion (PHM), both of which produce mechanical impact on the head, have similar effects on the hallucinogenic 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) receptor subtype 2A (5-HT2A) signaling in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of rodents. PHM generates interstitial fluid movement that is estimated to exert shear stress of a few pascals on cells in the PFC. Fluid shear stress of a relevant magnitude on cultured neuronal cells induces ligand-independent internalization of 5-HT2A receptor, which is observed in mouse PFC neurons after treadmill running or PHM. Furthermore, inhibition of interstitial fluid movement by introducing polyethylene glycol hydrogel eliminates the effect of PHM on 5-HT2A receptor signaling in the PFC. Our findings indicate that neuronal cell function can be physiologically regulated by mechanical forces in the brain.

Keywords: Biological Sciences; Cellular Neuroscience; Molecular Neuroscience; Neuroscience.