Effects of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors on Depression-Like Behavior in a Laser-Induced Shock Wave Model

Front Neurol. 2021 Feb 10;12:602038. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2021.602038. eCollection 2021.


Primary blast injury can result in depression-like behavior in the long-term. However, the effects of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) on the depression induced by mild blast traumatic brain injury (bTBI) in the long-term remain unclear. We generated a mouse model of mild bTBI using laser-induced shock wave (LISW) and administered an SSRI to mice by oral gavage for 14 days after LISW exposure. This study aimed to investigate the mechanisms of SSRI-mediated alleviation of depression-like behavior induced by mild bTBI. Animals were divided into three groups: sham, LISW-Vehicle, and LISW-SSRI. LISW was applied to the head of anesthetized mice at 0.5 J/cm2. Twenty-eight days after the LISW, mice in the LISW-SSRI group exhibited reduced depression-like behavior, a significant increase in the number of cells co-stained for 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (Brd-U) and doublecortin (DCX) in the dentate gyrus (DG) as well as increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and serotonin levels in the hippocampus compared to the sham and LISW-Vehicle groups. Additionally, levels of phosphorylated cAMP response element binding protein (pCREB) in the DG were significantly decreased in the LISW-Vehicle group compared to that in the sham group. Importantly, pCREB levels were not significantly different between LISW-SSRI and sham groups suggesting that SSRI treatment may limit the downregulation of pCREB induced by mild bTBI. In conclusion, recovery from depression-like behavior after mild bTBI may be mediated by hippocampal neurogenesis induced by increased BDNF and serotonin levels as well as the inhibition of pCREB downregulation in the hippocampus.

Keywords: brain-derived neurotrophic factor; depression; laser-induced shock wave; mild blast traumatic brain injury; neurogenesis; phosphorylated cAMP response element binding protein; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.