Serotonin modulates brain physiology and behavior and has major roles in brain diseases involving abnormal mood and cognition. Enhancing brain serotonin has been found to regulate glycogen synthase Kinase-3 (GSK3), but the signaling mechanism and functional significance of this regulation remain to be determined. In this study, we tested the signaling mechanism mediating 5-HT1A receptor-regulated GSK3 in the hippocampus. Using mutant GSK3 knock-in mice, we also tested the role of GSK3 in the behavioral effects of 5-HT1A receptors and the serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine. The results showed that activation of 5-HT1A receptors by 8-hydroxy- N, N-dipropyl-2-aminotetralin (8-OH-DPAT) increased phosphorylation of the N-terminal serine of both GSK3α and GSK3β in several areas of the hippocampus. The effect of 8-OH-DPAT was accompanied by an increase in the active phosphorylation of Akt, and was blocked by LY294002, an inhibitor of phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3K). Phosphorylation of GSK3β, but not GSK3α, was necessary for 5-HT1A receptors to suppress the hippocampus-associated contextual fear learning. Furthermore, acute fluoxetine treatment up-regulated both phospho-Ser21-GSK3α and phospho-Ser9-GSK3β in the hippocampus. Blocking phosphorylation of GSK3α and GSK3β diminished the anti-immobility effect of fluoxetine treatment in the forced swim test, wherein the effect of GSK3β was more prominent. These results together suggest that PI3K/Akt is a signaling mechanism mediating the GSK3-regulating effect of 5-HT1A receptors in the hippocampus, and regulation of GSK3 is an important intermediate signaling process in the behavioral functions of 5-HT1A receptors and fluoxetine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology