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MiR-16 Targets the Serotonin Transporter: A New Facet for Adaptive Responses to Antidepressants

Science  17 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5998, pp. 1537-1541
DOI: 10.1126/science.1193692

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Abstract

The serotonin transporter (SERT) ensures the recapture of serotonin and is the pharmacological target of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. We show that SERT is a target of microRNA-16 (miR-16). miR-16 is expressed at higher levels in noradrenergic than in serotonergic cells; its reduction in noradrenergic neurons causes de novo SERT expression. In mice, chronic treatment with the SSRI fluoxetine (Prozac) increases miR-16 levels in serotonergic raphe nuclei, which reduces SERT expression. Further, raphe exposed to fluoxetine release the neurotrophic factor S100β, which acts on noradrenergic cells of the locus coeruleus. By decreasing miR-16, S100β turns on the expression of serotonergic functions in noradrenergic neurons. Based on pharmacological and behavioral data, we propose that miR-16 contributes to the therapeutic action of SSRI antidepressants in monoaminergic neurons.

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