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The serotonin transporter and early life stress: do they interact to induce a depressive-like phenotype?

Borkent, Jenny (2018) The serotonin transporter and early life stress: do they interact to induce a depressive-like phenotype? Research Project 1, Biology.

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Abstract

In the research of Caspi et al. (2003) it was found that in humans the short version of the serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) and adverse early life stress (ELS) interact to induce a depressive-like phenotype. To study this interaction in animals, animals with a diminished serotonin transporter (SERT) expression can be used. Especially the heterozygous SERT knockout (SERT+/-) rodents seem to show similarities to the short version of the serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region. There is a lot of discussion if this SERT x ELS interaction really exists, especially because this interaction is hard to find in rodents. In addition, studies using females are scarce. Therefore the aim of this study is to investigate the possible interaction between the SERT genotype and different early life stressors and to find the right animal model to induce depression by ELS. Female wildtype (SERT+/+), heterozygous (SERT+/-) and homozygous (SERT-/-) SERT knockout rats were subjected to predictable or unpredictable maternal separation from postnatal day 2-15. From post-natal week 12 behavioural tests were performed to indicate depressive-like behaviour. Multiple effects were found in the behavioural tests. The social recognition test indicates that SERT-/- rats display higher sociability, social motivation and affiliation compared to the other genotypes in the sociability part of the test. SERT-/- rats also show more depressive-like behaviour in the forced swim test. Though maternal separation affected the genotypes differently, not one consistent effect could be found during the behavioural tests. The results do not indicate an interaction between the SERT genotype and early life stress in the form of maternal separation. Therefore the link Caspi et al. (2003) found couldn’t be recreated.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Project 1)
Supervisor:
Supervisor nameSupervisor E mail
Houwing, D.J.D.J.Houwing@rug.nl
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Research Project 1
Language: English
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2018
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2018 14:48
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/18535

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