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BMC Pharmacol. 2009; 9(Suppl 2): A21.
Published online Nov 12, 2009. doi:  10.1186/1471-2210-9-S2-A21
PMCID: PMC2778891
CaV1.3 L-type calcium channels modulate depression-like behavior in mice independent of deaf phenotype
Perrine Busquet,1 Ngoc K Nguyen,1 Eduard Schmid,2 Naoyuki Tanimoto,3 Mathias W Seeliger,3 Tamar Ben-Yosef,4 Fengxia Mizuno,5 Abram Akopian,5 Nicolas Singewald,1 and Jörg Striessnigcorresponding author1
1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Institute of Pharmacy and Center for Molecular Biosciences Innsbruck (CMBI), University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
2Department of Ophtalmology and Optometry, Innsbruck Medical University, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
3Division of Ocular Neurodegeneration, Institute for Ophthalmic Research, Centre for Ophthalmology, Eberhard-Karls University, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
4Department of Genetics, The Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, 31096 Haifa, Israel
5Department of Ophthalmology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Jörg Striessnig: joerg.striessnig/at/uibk.ac.at
Supplement
15th Scientific Symposium of the Austrian Pharmacological Society (APHAR)
Andrea Laslop and Thomas Griesbacher
Conference
15th Scientific Symposium of the Austrian Pharmacological Society (APHAR) Joint meeting with the Hungarian Society of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology (MFT) and the Slovenian Pharmacological Society (SDF)
19–21 November 2009
Graz, Austria
Mounting evidence suggests that neuronal voltage-gated CaV1.2 and CaV1.3 L-type calcium channels (LTCCs) can modulate mood and anxiety behaviors. In CaV1.2 dihydropyridine (DHP)-insensitive mice (CaV1.2DHP-/- mice), systemic application of the DHP channel activator BAYK 8644 induced pro-depression-like behavior providing evidence for a possible role of CaV1.3 channels in mood behavior. We therefore explored the role of CaV1.3 LTCCs in depression- and anxiety-like behaviors using CaV1.3-deficient mice (CaV1.3-/-). However, CaV1.3-/- mice are congenitally deaf and it is so far unclear how deafness affects emotional behavior in mice. We therefore used another mouse model suffering from congenital deafness, claudin 14-deficient mice (Cldn14-/-) as a control to address this question. As CaV1.3 channels are expressed in the retina we also investigated CaV1.3-/- mice for possible disturbances in retinal morphology and visual function that could interfere with behavioral analysis.
Methods
Depression-like behavior was assessed using forced swim and tail suspension tests (FST and TST) whereas elevated plus maze (EPM) and stress-induced hyperthermia (SIH) were performed to test anxiety-like behavior. Morris water maze, electroretinography and immunofluorescence stainings were performed to evaluate the consequence on visual acuity and retinal morphology of CaV1.3 deletion in CaV1.3-/- mice.
We showed that CaV1.3-/- mice displayed less immobility in the FST as well as in the TST, indicating an antidepressant-like phenotype. In the EPM, CaV1.3-/- mice entered the open arms more frequently and spent more time there indicating an anxiolytic-like phenotype which was, however not supported in the SIH test. By performing parallel experiments in Cldn14-/- mice, an influence of deafness on the antidepressant-like phenotype could be ruled out. On the other hand, a similar EPM behavior indicative of an anxiolytic phenotype was also found in the Cldn14-/- animals. Using electroretinography and visual behavioral tasks we demonstrated that in mice, CaV1.3 channels do not significantly contribute to visual function. However, distinct morphological changes were revealed in synaptic ribbons in the outer plexiform layer of CaV1.3-/- retinas by immunohistochemistry. Although these changes have no major effects on visual function, they indicate a possible role of this channel type in structural plasticity at the ribbon synapse.
Conclusion
CaV1.3 LTCCs modulate depression-like behavior but are not essential for visual function. The findings raise the possibility that selective modulation of CaV1.3 channels could be a promising new therapeutic concept for the treatment of mood disorders.
Acknowledgements
Supported by the Austrian Science Fund (P-20670 and W11).
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