Differential Expression of Synapsin I and II upon Treatment by Lithium and Valproic Acid in Various Brain Regions
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INTRODUCTION: Due to the heterogeneity of psychiatric illnesses and overlapping mechanisms, patients with psychosis are differentially responsive to pharmaceutical drugs. In addition to having therapeutic effects for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers have many clinical applications and are used unconventionally due to their direct and indirect effects on neurotransmitters. Synapsins, a family of neuronal phosphoproteins, play a key regulatory role in neurotransmitter release at synapses. In this study, we investigated the effects of mood stabilizers, lithium, and valproic acid on synapsin gene expression in the rat brain. METHODS: Intraperitoneal injections of saline, lithium, and valproic acid were administered to male Sprague Dawley rats twice daily for 14 d, corresponding to their treatment group. Following decapitation and brain tissue isolation, mRNA was extracted from various brain regions including the hippocampus, striatum, prefrontal cortex, and frontal cortex. RESULTS: Biochemical analysis revealed that lithium significantly increased gene expression of synapsin I in the striatum, synapsin IIa in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, and synapsin IIb in the hippocampus and striatum. Valproic acid significantly increased synapsin IIa in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, as well as synapsin IIb in the hippocampus and striatum. CONCLUSION: These significant changes in synapsin I and II expression may implicate a common transcription factor, early growth response 1, in its mechanistic pathway. Overall, these results elucidate mechanisms through which lithium and valproic acid act on downstream targets compared with antipsychotics and provide deeper insight on the involvement of synaptic proteins in treating neuropsychiatric illnesses.
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