Sertraline modulates hippocampal plasticity and learning via sigma 1 receptors, cellular stress and neurosteroids

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 Jan 24:2024.01.23.576911. doi: 10.1101/2024.01.23.576911.


In addition to modulating serotonin transport, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have multiple other effects that may contribute to clinical effects, and some of these latter actions prompt repurposing of SSRIs for non-psychiatric indications. We recently observed that the SSRIs fluvoxamine and fluoxetine prevent the acute adverse effects of pro-inflammatory stimulation on long-term potentiation (LTP) in the CA1 hippocampal region. Sertraline showed markedly different effects, acutely inhibiting LTP at a low micromolar concentration through inverse agonism of sigma 1 receptors (S1Rs). In the present studies, we pursued mechanisms contributing to sertraline modulation of LTP in rat hippocampal slices. We found that sertraline partially inhibits synaptic responses mediated by N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) via effects on NMDARs that express GluN2B subunits. A selective S1R antagonist (NE-100), but not an S1R agonist (PRE-084) blocked effects on NMDARs, despite the fact that both S1R ligands were previously shown to prevent LTP inhibition. Both NE-100 and PRE-084, however, prevented adverse effects of sertraline on one-trial learning. Because of the important role that S1Rs play in modulating endoplasmic reticulum stress, we examined whether inhibitors of cellular stress alter effects of sertraline. We found that two stress inhibitors, ISRIB and quercetin, prevented LTP inhibition, as did inhibitors of the synthesis of endogenous neurosteroids, which are homeostatic regulators of cellular stress. These studies highlight complex effects of sertraline, S1Rs and neurosteroids on hippocampal function and have relevance for understanding therapeutic and adverse drug actions.

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